should my cover letter explicitly ask for an interview?

A reader writes:

What is your opinion on asking for a job interview at the bottom of a cover letter? I can understand that small to mid-sized companies are more likely to respond to this. However, I’ve been applying to bigger, corporate companies with online application processes. It seems almost useless to add this line and almost as if whomever is reading will guffaw at such a comment.

(Side note: my successful and employed boyfriend has adamantly stated this is important, but I don’t exactly trust that part of his advice!)

You’ve already asked for an interview by applying. That’s what applying is! They know you want an interview because you have sent them your resume.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with saying something like “I’d love the chance to talk with you about the role,” but there’s also nothing wrong with not saying that. It’s already clear.

What there is something wrong with is what I’m afraid your boyfriend is recommending — an overly salesy statement like “I’d like to schedule an interview for this position and will call you next week to discuss a time to meet.” That’s over-stepping, because once you express interest (as you’ve done by applying), it’s up to the employer whether to schedule time to talk.

{ 89 comments… read them below }

  1. Woodward*

    Alison – I think the sentence: “There’s certainly nothing [wrong with] saying something like “I’d love the chance to talk with you about the role,” but there’s also nothing wrong with not saying that.” is missing the words “wrong with”.

    Or not, but it didn’t read clearly to me.

          1. Rachel*

            Ok. It’s just very hard to read. “What isn’t acceptable is what…” would be much easier.

  2. Letters to Paystubs*

    I tend to close my cover letters with “I would love the opportunity to discuss how we could better serve COMPANY. Please call me at NUMBER or email me at EMAIL. I look forward to hearing from you!”

    Although, out of context, I wonder if that sounds too pushy or salesy.

    1. Adam*

      I admit your line “I would love the opportunity to discuss how we could better serve _____” confuses me a bit. The way I read it makes it sound like you already work for them or are perhaps a routine contract hire. Could you clarify?

      1. Amy*

        Yeah – why the “we” and the “better?” And I agree with people below that you don’t need to tell them to call/email you. I don’t even think the “you can reach me at–” info is necessary, assuming that’s on your resume.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          I *think* what Letters is going for is “…to discuss how we could better serve Chocolate Teapots LTD together,” i.e. “visualize me as a part of your organization”.

    2. John*

      I would stop after the first sentence, Letters. Your contact info should presumably be in your return address (for snail mail) or footer (for email) and on your resume.

      And “please call me” is giving them an order. I would definitely read that as pushy. They will contact you if they are interested.

    3. LAI*

      This isn’t terrible, but does come across a bit more pushy than I prefer. I would probably go with something like “I would love the opportunity to discuss how I can contribute to the work at COMPANY/collaborate with you at COMPANY. You can reach me at/I can be reached at NUMBER or EMAIL. I look forward to hearing from you!”

      1. CoffeeLover*

        I actually really like that. Plays in to the whole becoming part of the team and finding the right fit thing.

        1. Letters to Paystubs*

          Oooh, yes, this is much better! I received the phrasing from a friend who is a recruiter (and aggressive job applicant) while I was wallowing in unemployment despair. Looking back at it, I do agree with (all) the commenters here- definitely could be taken down a notch!

  3. New HR*

    I work at a relatively small company (~70 employees) and I find this line particularly irritating, especially when the candidate actually follows up with the expectation of scheduling an interview.

    We may be a small company, but we still receive 100+ applications for every role we are hiring for. It’s our choice who we schedule an interview with, and I have rejected otherwise good candidates for being way too pushy about scheduling interviews as it’s an indicator that they won’t be a good fit in our culture.

    1. New HR*

      I should also note that this line comes off as more desperate than anything else, especially since I see it most frequently in candidates who are extremely under qualified for the position they are applying to, or candidates who have been unemployed for long stretches of time.

      1. ACA*

        I usually include a line along the lines of, “I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the position with you further.” You’re definitely better off going with something like that than flat-out asking for an interview – it reiterates your interest without coming across as pushy or desperate.

  4. Persephone Mulberry*

    Yeah, I don’t think a small or medium sized company is going to be any more receptive to a pushy salesy close than a large corporation.

    I close similar to Paystubs above: “I would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the value that I can bring to [company]. I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.”

  5. Sunflower*

    I usually stick with a general ‘I’d love to speak with you further about the position’ as a closing. Even adding in a part about ‘what I can bring to the position’ sounds slightly salesy. I wouldn’t disqualify anyone for it but I think it’s similar to the way applying for a job is asking for an interview. You both know you’re going to talk about your skills if they call you/schedule an interview. They’ve already read your cover letter and decided if they want to talk to you/they have a general overview of your skills. Adding in that last line isn’t going to make or break whether you get the interview or not so I’d rather not include it

    1. Felicia*

      I use the same closing, and get plenty of interviews (and the occasional compliment on my cover letters from interviewers. ) The body of your cover letter is sooo much more important than your closing…once they get to the bottom they’ve formed their opinion. I’d say any neutral closing is probably fine, but something overtly salesy like people who say they’ll call to schedule an interview would stick out as bad regardless of if you’re qualified.

  6. Treena Kravm*

    Ugh! I actually did this straight out of college because my father *insisted* on it. He claimed that it would make me stand out, and that it would make it clear that I wasn’t resume bombing and that I *really* wanted the job by remembering to call. Luckily, I can only remember doing it once and feeling so mortified that I just dropped it (and lots of other terrible advice he gave me).

    1. Dani S*

      You’re not alone. I used to always write that I’d be calling in a week to confirm that they received my resume (which I’d mailed in on fancy paper AND dropped off with the receptionist in-person). I thought it’d show an ability to follow through and keep me on their radar.

      1. Stephanie*

        I hate that advice about “following up” on your application.

        It just seems like it’d go something like:
        Applicant: Hi, I’m following up on my application to the Caramel Teapot Specialist Role.
        HR: Ok…we got it.
        Applicant: Um, ok. So interview?

        1. Dani S*

          They’re supposed to say, “Hi Dani! I’ve been eagerly awaiting your call!”

          1. Stephanie*

            Ha, because I’m sure it’d be great to work for a company that’s too disorganized/lazy/passive to keep track of a really good candidate.

            1. Koko*

              It worked for me in college to get a job at a Pizza Hut. I literally went in there like, four times over the course of two weeks and kept being like, “So, about that job…” until the GM hired me. I’ve never attempted such a strategy outside of the pizza-based industry.

              1. Twentymilehike*

                Oh this was me when I was trying to get a job at Aaron brothers in college. Turns out they’d hire anyone who walked in and asked, so long as they had an opening. It wasn’t my persistence so much as it was that they didn’t have an opening the first three times! Ha.

                1. Anx*

                  “It wasn’t my persistence so much as it was that they didn’t have an opening the first three times!”

                  This is how I think walk-in hiring works for these industries. It’s not the persistence itself or anything about gumption. It’s more like the managers you spoke to before aren’t in charge of hiring or a worker doesn’t want them to hire anyone new and your application disappears or you happen to walk in on a day that someone just quit and it’s all about timing.

    2. Tinker*

      Heh. At times I think that most of people’s problems at work and almost all of people’s problems looking for work are caused by thinking that the workplace is some sort of alternate universe governed by rules other than the ones involving 1) how to make stuff get done 2) how to be civilized with other people.

      In my more cynical moments, I think that such perspectives are seen as coming from parents is down to that many misguided adults say these things, but only their children feel obliged to listen.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        most of people’s problems at work and almost all of people’s problems looking for work are caused by thinking that the workplace is some sort of alternate universe governed by rules other than the ones involving 1) how to make stuff get done 2) how to be civilized with other people.

        And there goes my trade secret.

      2. A*

        Wait, WHAT!? You mean to tell me this is the real life…it’s not just fantasy…

        I feel so disillusioned :-)

      3. AnotherAlison*

        Strangely enough, I think this no-following-up-on-your application thing actually does work differently than everything else. In every other part of my life, if I want something, I follow up until it gets done. Want the city to fix your road? Keep calling. Want to sell something? Call your prospects. Want a job? Wait for them to call you.

    3. BeBe*

      Many parents are giving out this well-meaning, but very outdated advice! There was a time when you may have done that, and then actually called and followed up, but not anymore.

      Actually, even ‘back in the day’ I think I only ever did that for very small companies.

  7. Cheeky*

    This is SUPER common advice from university career counselors, and I HATE it. There’s no way for it to come across except as annoying.

    1. Brenda*

      I’d just like to say, as university careers information officer who works with career counsellors and sometimes provides advice on CVs and cover letters, that I would never recommend this. I just today steered someone today away from adding “….. from which I gained skills at using Teapot Systems” or similar to every bullet point on his CV, which someone outside our office told him he should do. We’re not all idiots.

      1. Stephanie*

        I’ve never thought that. I’ve gotten some useful advice from my alma mater’s career center.

        Where I found the career center usually fell short was:
        (1) A lot of the staff had counseling or student advising backgrounds (versus industry hiring backgrounds) and their advice would reflect that.
        (2) It tended to function as a placement office for companies that recruited on campus and most of the staff’s efforts and advice were directed toward that goal. So if you wanted to work at Big Consulting Company looking to hire 20 new analysts, they were great with that. Aside from that, not so much. Sometimes the staff would forget that isn’t the typical hiring scenario.

        1. LAI*

          I think the tricky thing is that, at many universities, career centers serve two purposes: they are trying to help students apply for jobs, but they are also helping students identify the right kinds of career fields and specific jobs to apply for. This is where the counseling/advising skills come in handy. Of course, the ideal would be to find someone who has background and experience in both – I’m sure it can’t be that hard.

          1. Rose*

            My career office used to always suggest that I Google “jobs in MY MAJOR.” That was their advice. Every single time. Also, looking on

            I went to a somewhat selective, very expensive, private university in the northeast (think NYU, Boston College).

            I get emailed weekly and called monthly asking for money. The fundraisers always mention that their career services office goes above and beyond to help recent alumni.

            I wish I had gone to state school.

        2. Mints*

          Mine was all #2. They were actually pretty great at helping students write resumes and pretty good with interview advice. But when I went in like “I don’t know what kinds of jobs I’d like” the guy was like “Well come back after you’ve figured it out and then we’ll talk.” Uh, I thought you’d help
          But I’ve kept their “Jobs 101” guide and still refer to it occasionally

      2. Kay*

        Thank you for not being one of the many idiots out there. Our world is filled with them, not just in career centers at universities, but EVERYWHERE!

  8. Stephanie*

    I wonder if SMBs get hit with these pushy tactics more than the giant corporations? I hear these tactics advised for SMBs because there’s a perception that they’re “easier” to get hired at.

    My last job was at a medium-sized company (about 100 people total). Something like this would have been a pretty big turnoff (admittedly, this was just my old company and not universal). We had two HR people for the whole company and they would have found this annoying (as they had to deal with other things aside from hiring and had specific interviewing processes that worked for them). Since it was a smaller company and there were fewer places to move around, they were also a lot more particular about fit and would find incompatible with the work (a lot of which involved lots of CYA and procedure).

  9. kas*

    I cringe whenever I read over old resumes because they always ended with me telling them I’d contact next week. Last year while applying to internships, my program coordinator kind of approved everyones resumes first. He insisted we keep that line in, which I did but I never actually contacted them.

    1. shellbell*

      This line is so cheesy, and so out of style. It also makes your letter seem like a form letter instead of something genuine.

      1. Hiring Mgr*

        I will typically say I’m going to call at a specific day and time, not just “next week”. Then I send a calendar invitation for that day and time so it’s locked in.

            1. Hiring Mgr*

              Well shellbell, I would never forgive myself if you were never happy again…so yes I was joking :)

          1. BRR*

            I hope you receive a letter from the other end, “Alison, I had a candidate tell me when they would call to schedule their interview and they sent me a calendar appointment.” At a certain point, why not just write your own offer letter?

            1. some1*

              I believe Alison DID get a letter from a candidate who sent a meeting request to the person who had offered her an interview, and the candidate was put off when the interviewer declined it.

        1. ExceptionToTheRule*

          This only works if you tack “-dawg” on to the name of the person you’re sending the invitation to.

          1. A*

            You should ask about their fertility and at the interview eat 1 item out of everyone’s lunch in the office fridge

            1. Beebs*

              And leave some fingernail clippings in the CEO’s desk drawer, just to seal the deal.

  10. alma*

    Ugggh. When I was leaving university and entering the work force, it was treated like the golden rule that you HAD to include some “I will call you to schedule an interview” line in your cover letter. Not doing so made you lazy and passively expecting a job to come to you. Saying you’d call and then doing it showed follow through!

    I might have included it on one or two letters but for the most part, even as a desperate kid right out of college, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Lo and behold I managed to get a pretty nice job anyway.

    1. Vancouver Reader*

      That was the same when I first came into the workforce, you were supposed to let the potential employer know you’d be following up with them to set up an interview. I guess at the time, if you were going for a job in cold calling, it would show you were good for the job, but for admin jobs, not so much.

  11. shellbell*

    “I can understand that small to mid-sized companies are more likely to respond to this.”

    I sometimes think that people just forget to think logically about coverletters and applying to jobs. I cannot imagine a scenario in which a company receives an application, finds an appealing candidate, wants to interview them, and then passes because the person didn’t ask outright for a job interview.

    1. In progress*

      This is so embarrassing, but I’ve always had the impression that companies were really looking for who wanted it the most. AAM has taught me better, but it’s way too late for some places.

      1. shellbell*

        Interesting. Don’t be embarrassed. Clearly, you aren’t the only one who thinks that. This seems super common. I’ve screened and interviewed folks (I gave input, but didn’t make the final hiring decision). I *do* want someone who wants the job, but I also want someone who will be a good fit and has the right experience. It isn’t a simple formula like who wants it the most.

        1. Koko*

          Yep, it’s a factor, just not the whole picture. I’d say there’s a minimum enthusiasm threshold somewhere around “this person has shown some connection to or interest in this work, enough that s/he won’t hate it” below which I would take an otherwise good candidate out of the running. Once you’ve hit that minimum, enthusiasm functions more like a tiebreaker between the otherwise best-qualified candidates. Or maybe there’s a scenario where I’m choosing between a highly-skilled and highly-experienced candidate who will command a high salary, and a somewhat less-experienced but still very well-qualified candidate whose salary requirements are somewhat less AND she seems really excited about the job. Enthusiasm + intelligence can to some extent compensate for lack of experience, since people who are excited about their jobs tend to be more proactive about improving their work and learning new skills.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Agreed, and the other thing I’d mention is that these sorts of cover letter lines or pushy tactics don’t come across as enthusiasm. They come across as something very different: pushiness, annoyingness, aggressiveness, and lack of understanding of business/cultural norms.

  12. Ash (the other one!)*

    This advice seems to be common, as does the following up. I had three students call me a few months back when we were hiring for summer internships, all of them within three days of submitting their resumes. I hadn’t even looked at them at that point, but their cockiness made me delete their resumes from consideration altogether. Don’t make me do more work. And yes, spending 10 minutes on the phone with you when it was not scheduled, interrupting what I was doing, is work.

      1. Aunt Vixen*

        … Because if you want an interview, the answer is no, you shouldn’t do this. [rim shot] ?

    1. Diet Coke Addict*

      Nope! That’s why I applied to the job, so they’d know to stay away. Now I never apply to jobs and my phone rings off the hook with interview requests.

      It’s science.

      1. some1*

        And if someone was applying to a job they didn’t want (say, to qualify for unemployment), why bother including a cover letter? They’re usually optional.

  13. Mimmy*

    I am so happy to see that a job/career advice columnist that I trust wholeheartedly concurs with my opinion that the “I will call you for an interview next week…” line is overstepping things. That advice was so prominent when I was looking for work right after getting my MSW, and it just felt so not me! I may occasionally say something like “I would welcome the opportunity to speak further about the position…”, but that’s it.

  14. holly*

    i usually conclude with: “i look forward to the opportunity to discuss {position} with you.” it is basically my boilerplate conclusion. too pushy?

  15. Lurker*

    We recently posted an opening and have received 170+ applicants in one week (a lot for us). One person emailed their application, sent a follow-up email the following day, and then called 3 days later to make sure their email was received. When I told them we had received 170+ applications and would be reviewing them in the next week, instead of taking that as a cue to politely end the call, they insisted on giving me their phone number, which they pointed out was also on their resume.

    Their qualifications aren’t a match for the position, but if they were, I’d pass them up anyway because they don’t understand how job searching works and can’t pick up social cues.

    1. BRR*

      This is usually what happens. In the rare instance where a hiring manager loves it I imagine it is a toxic work environment.

      My advice for job hunting tips is imagine that it benefits you, then imagine the polar opposite. Take both options and pick the side that hurts the candidate and that is the likely outcome.

    2. some1*

      And a pushy candidate will be a pushy employee. ” Jane, I emailed my vacation request 13 minutes ago, did you read it? Can I have it off?”

    3. Lurker*

      To be fair, they just graduated in May; however, they should still be doing research on how and how frequently to follow up when job searching.

      I have to say, reviewing all the applications makes me even more thankful that I am not a recent grad trying to find a job!

  16. Mitchell*

    If you call you’re circumventing the normal hiring process. Basically, you’re asking for special treatment. I don’t like people who think the rules don’t apply to them. And I would wonder if you thought you couldn’t get the job the regular way.

  17. Arjay*

    Sorry to be off-topic, but I have a bad case of Fridayitis. I’ve been waiting all day for the open thread to post! I just now realized it’s still only Thursday.

    1. Ms. Lemonade*

      If you’re in the US, tomorrow is a holiday (for most workplaces) – so effectively it IS Friday. You’re not wrong!

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Speaking of which, the only post tomorrow will be the open thread, because of the 4th of July. International readers — who will still be at work — accept my apologies!

      1. Felicia*

        That’s ok! I won’t be able to look at work tomorrow so the open thread will be the entertainment level of many posts.

        It’s not Friday today for this Canadian! But we got Tuesday off for Canada day, which was pretty great.

  18. young, job seeking, question giver*


    First, originial question writer here!

    I should have been more specific, but the advice my boyfriend was giving was more along the lines of, “What would be a good time and day for you to set up an interview?”

    This seemed incredibly pushy and I appreciate everyone commenting and giving better advice on what exactly to say!

  19. Sophia*

    Agree with everyone – too pushy! What about a closing line like: “I look forward to hearing from you.” If it makes any difference, I’m in academia

  20. Anx*

    Oh thank goodness.

    I have always considered an application to be an interest in the job. If they don’t allow a cover letter at all, then my opportunity to express enthusiasm is limited by the application format and there’s not much I can do. But if I can send a cover letter and a resume and fill out an application, isn’t it obvious that I’m very interested in the position? Enough to apply at least. And anything that would change that would have to be information that comes up in an interview or once the employer divulges more about the position and company.

    I had just been starting to worry that my cover letters were too passive.

    As an aside, it can be so frustrating not to be able to trust your instincts with these sorts of things.

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