“People rarely read your cover letter”
The audience gasped.
Jobseekers work so hard to get their message across in a letter. They think this is the wrapper for their job application. The icing on the cake that makes them stand out from the other applications.
Let’s consider a few things here from the receiver’s point of view:
- When sending your resume jobseekers tend to send this as ‘Resume.doc’ or similar and then also attach as a separate file ‘Cover Letter.doc’. So you have already given the reader the power of choice….which document do they want to open when verifying your suitability for the role?
- The Recruiter or Hiring Manager receives 100 responses to a job advert. They are looking to interview maybe 5 people for the job. They have to read through the 100 resumes (and cover letters?) They skim read the resumes online and maybe print the ones they are interested in for when they call. Still no cover letter.
- The job description is a list of responsibilities for the role and the brief of what skills the ideal candidate will have…this information is typically in your resume? So initial assessment is a matching game.
Some people argue that they need to use the cover letter as an introduction to their resume or an opportunity to point out their soft skills relevant for the role. I argue that this again can be achieved with a Career Objective in your resume and clever use of document title.
The one thing this controversial statement did do was unify people on was this – job seekers need to tailor each and every application to the job they are applying. So, amend your Career Objective paragraph accordingly. Be smart when giving your applications a document title eg:
“ Joe Bloggs – Resume for Sales Manager Role with Apple.doc”
Some employers do request a cover letter – in this case you should most certainly produce one. Show off your written communication skills as well as your suitability to the role.
One final challenge – spend the energy and time you would usually spend in your cover letter – by also adapting and tailoring your resume. Your efforts should pay off.
Let me know how you go.