Does Anybody Read or Care About Cover Letters

The debate rages on about using cover letters. Do I need one? What is the best format? What should be in it? Who do I address it to? How long should it be? And on, and on, and on.

I have asked many of my clients and other recruiters about their feelings on cover letters. For the most part with hiring managers and HR it is mixed. Some want them and others don’t care one way or the other. However, with recruiters there seems to be a more uniform consensus that recruiters don’t pay much attention to them. Given this I recommend when sending a resume directly to a company, hiring manager or HR to include a cover letter. When responding to a recruiter it isn’t that important, but if you have one ready go ahead and include it. Only don’t send it as a separate document, include in the same file as the resume.

The biggest problem with cover letters is the attempt to make them an addendum to one’s resume. Meaning that candidates often use the cover letter to add points that aren’t included in their resume, rather than re-writing the resume. This is completely WRONG. If the points are important enough to be in the letter, then they must be included on the resume.

The primary reason for a cover letter should be to present such a compelling case that the person reading it will get excited enough to take the time to actually read your resume. There is nothing more frustrating than to get all excited about a candidate from the cover letter, only to have the rug pulled out from this excitement when the resume doesn’t include any of these points. The reader is left wondering, where did these take place, how long ago, if they really did happen and they are that significant why aren’t they on the resume, guess the candidate didn’t think they were all that significant so as to re-write the resume, etc? As you can see it creates more questions than it answers.

It is critical you take the time and make the effort to re-write your resume with this information included. Don’t just send out the generic resume. If the cover letter gets separated from the resume you want to make sure the resume stands by itself.

You can download an example of a cover the we recommend using. This format has proven very successful. To get your FREE example CLICK HERE.

For more information on cover letters and resumes take a look at our “Complete Job Search Home Study Course.” We will send it to you so you can review it completely for just $14.95. Plus we will even pay the shipping to you and include a copy of our best selling book on your job search. To learn more CLICK HERE.

About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.

6 Comments

  • By Anneli Olila, September 18, 2009 @ 6:55 am

    My advice is: If you’ve got one shot at something, why not use every acceptable tool at your disposal? See http://www.oliladocuments.com/covlet.html for additional discussion on the cover letter controversy, why you should use one, and how to do so effectively.

  • By SQS aka Starke Nekked, September 18, 2009 @ 7:01 am

    You are on target. Added thoughts: Do you subscribe to the concept that a candidate is well advised to ALWAYS follow-up an online app with hard copies, cover letter included, to the prospective employer? If the prospective employer’s name is hidden, what does that say about that employer. It says to me as a veteran career trainer (not a coach, not a recruiter) DON’T APPLY. Next why stress out about cover letters if you know and embrace the Requirements of the posting? Make sure all that is in the cover letter, including how your qualifications match up with the Requirements, is also included in the resume GUARANTEED. Finally…why do you make it so tough to actually see your sample cover letter. I don’t sell resumes or cover letters. Here’s an idea; assist prospects with both free of charge based upon more than 19 years assisting more than 2,300 one-on-one clients. As your for your cover letter? My response is I’ll show you mine, if you will show me yours WITHOUT numerous clicks and having to fill out forms giving you my name, address, etc. Game? Thank you for reading this comment.

  • By bradremillard, September 20, 2009 @ 2:47 pm

    That is fine as long as there are links back to us. Once you get up and running we can do the same.

    I see you are still in the broker business. How is it going?

  • By Sample Cover Letter, October 5, 2009 @ 6:16 am

    As a recruiter I think a cover letter is very important. I get large number of CV’s every day, i go through cover letter first, if cover letter is OK then I go through the other part of the CV.

  • By hemen parekh, December 15, 2009 @ 5:24 am

    Customization of resume is an art that does not come easily to every jobseeker.
    Then there is a science of customization which converts a plain text resume into
    8 graphs, online / automatically / instantly.
    If the main goal of a resume is to capture the attention of the recruiters and it’s
    secondary goal is to motivate the recruiters to read it long enough to interpret the
    jobseeker’s story, then you will appreciate what http://www.CustomizeResume.com can
    do for your career.
    To impress the recruiters, what you need is a graphical / visual / analytical presentation.
    Regards
    Hemen parekh
    hcp@recruitguru.com
    Mumbai – India

  • By hemen parekh, April 1, 2010 @ 8:54 pm

    As compared to a jobseeker writing her own resume, a resume written by a professional expert resume-writer would any day prove better.

    But

    Before sending that well-written resume to a recruiter, can a jobseeker figure-out in advance what would happen if that resume

     gets ” rated / ranked / scored ” by recruiter ?

     gets compared automatically with resumes of other applicants ?

    Will she get an interview-call ?

    To know what is likely to happen , she has to just type “Resume Rater” in Google / Yahoo / Bing , and download this software tool ( free and without even login ) from any of the 35+ websites. Then rate her resume.

    Resume Rater mimics the ” resume-evaluation ” process of recruiters’ minds but does it in an unbiased / objective way.
    Resume Rater is absolutely non – discriminatory.

    Regards

    hemen parekh

    Jobs for All = Peace on Earth

    ________________________________________

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