Okay, I’m Wrong – Recruters DO Read Cover Letters
I’ve never been a fan of the cover letter. Ever since 1999 when I was asked to screen applicants for open positions; cover letters were either boring or they were hilarious and not the kind of hilarious that makes you want to hire someone – oh no. The kind of hilarious that makes you want to pass it around the office, making fun of the foolishness that someone wrote and actually submitted. There are plenty of statistics regarding the fact that most cover letters do not get read. Again, I used to never read them. But as a resume writer my job is to help my clients cast the widest net and present the best package therefore I have to get better at writing them.
What’s makes it good – compelling and attractive?
Cover letters have gone south but they really do have a purpose. If you use the cover letter effectively, it can put you over the top. What’s changed my mind and perspective? I’m glad you asked. My clients. I had to learn what’s wrong with cover letters in order to find how to make them better. And now I write engaging cover letters that holds the reader’s attention thus making them want to read the resume. Recently, I’ve had several clients tell me that they love their new cover letters and others have said that their NEW employers really loved it as well.
I’m going to give you some tips to help you with your cover letter, here’s what you’re doing wrong.
You are begging for the job – begging for a call – begging for a chance. Look, even during the Holidays no one likes a begger. People love to give people opportunities based on work ethic, experience, and good feelings – not based on sympathy and sorrow. Don’t use your cover letter to pull at the heart strings, which means no sad stories about kids, divorce, domestic violence, drug abuse or financial dire straits.
Regurgitating the Resume
I don’t like that word “regurgitate” but it fits. You are just rehashing, re-explaining your resume all over again on your cover letter. Stop that, they have the resume, now give them some supplemental information which supports or explains the resume. And you can explain why you do what you do, you know, your passion! If you don’t have a passion then explain your knack – the reason you do what you do. Explain any employment gaps or transitions from career to career.
There’s No Story Here
Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more of this. Many people can’t construct a proper sentence or articulate a thought. Maybe that’s due to our digital aged communication – texting and posting. And many people do not know how to tell a story. Your cover letter should tell a story – the story of why you are looking for a new job and what you bring to the party.
Cover letters are necessary and there seems to be more interest in cover letters from Recruiters and Hiring Managers looking for a reason to make a selection. I trust my clients, if 5 or 6 of them tell me that their cover letter impressed the interviewer than I believe this information is helpful for you too.
As always – you or someone you know needs help with their resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile – contact me. ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’