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.