Yeah, so I was never a big fan of the cover letter. The reasons are simple, usually the cover letter is either really long or incredibly short and either way it doesn’t give you much information to make a hiring decision. Some folks use the cover letter to re-hash their resumes – basically it’s the exact same thing. Or you have those that use the cover to overshare by telling about their personal habits and I don’t mean exercising or volunteer work, I’m talking their favorite alcoholic beverage of choice or favorite fashion designer. Others use the cover letter as an opportunity to beg.
Recently, a friend posted on Facebook a hand written letter from a job applicant which basically said they knew that a position was open because the person who previously held it had died. They went on to say how they don’t want to hear that there were no vacancies and that they have caught the company red handed (implying that the company would be lying). And finally the writer says that they have attached their resume and a copy of the deceased person’s death certificate! Wow, just wow. I am still wondering if that was real or a hoax but the sad thing is – people will do crazy things just like that.
I heard of people flirting through cover letters and emails. I’ve heard of people basically saying that they would be open to sexual relationships if they were hired. I read angry cover letters in which the author puts their previous company and co-workers on blast. Some people do the craziest things.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you that the cover letter is still important. As a resume writer I had to really work on my cover letter skills for my clients. Recently, I have noticed that when I send a client their resume and cover letter, they love the cover letter even more than the resume! When making corrections or changes, I am finding that the cover letter requires fewer revisions than the resume.
More importantly, I am having clients tell me that they are getting interviews because of their cover letter. True story, one client informed me that the only reason she was called for a 2nd interview was because the hiring manager read her cover letter and wanted to talk with her in person.
You may have heard the reports that cover letters are useless and only read 20% of the time. Well I believe that’s because most resumes are crappy. And if you have a crappy resume, no one will want to read a crappy cover letter as well. If you have a long drawn out resume, no one wants to read a long drawn out cover letter too. However if you have powerful and attractive resume, guess what? They will read your cover letter.
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