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Are Cover Letters Always Needed? | JobSearchTV.com

I answer this simple, yet important question. 

Summary

“Are cover letters always needed?”

No.

The history of the cover letter is really very simple. In days of old, like when I got into recruiting what seems like hundred years ago, you had one resume that you mailed to an employer or you dropped off at their offices as you went from building to building trying to find a job. Back then, a cover letter became a complement to that one standard resume and would talk about some of the additional things that you did had done that were relevant to that job. So, you might just simply have typed up a letter that you put on top of the resume or stapled to it. Or, you might say something politely like, “I’m forwarding my resume to you for the role of (fill the blank) that I saw advertised in (fill in the blank). I believe my experience with such and such and such and such would make be a viable individual for your organization). That was paragraph two.

Paragraph three was, “I look forward to hearing from you about next steps in the process,” or, if you were doing drop-offs that day because you have no idea if there was a job, you would do one of those your self-promotion type of things, staple it onto your it resume and use it is a sales tool.

Obviously, cover letters are not used for that purpose anymore and know if your background as demonstrated on your resume shows that you fit the requirement perfectly, you don't need a cover letter. However, few resumes do. So, why not use it is a sales opportunity to promote yourself?

Now, I want to be clear, you don't use a cover letter as an attachment with your resume. Use the body of the email like the old cover letter. What do you do you? How do you demonstrate the fit? It’s really very simple.

So, whether you are sending it to a recruiter or a hiring manager, you might start off by saying, “I am submitting my resume for a role that I understand is available in your organization for (such and such). My understanding is this is what you're looking for.”

In the left-hand column, you put a list of skills and, in the right-hand column, you indicate how long and how recently you used those skills, used those technologies or employed those qualifications. How long and how recently. If you don't have one or two of those items. You omit them from your list. Then, from there, you could conclude by saying, “as you can see, I matchup very strongly with the position and I look forward to hearing from you and meeting with you in the next week. If I don't hear from you I will put in a quick call to you . . . “ Something along those lines that ties the bow so that there is going to be a next step. But you use it as a sales opportunity, linking your qualifications with the role.

So, no, you don't need to use it; it is not a requirement that you use a cover letter. But since few people are submitting resumes that demonstrate a perfect fit, why not use the body of your email instead of using it as stupid whitespace, use it as a sales opportunity to promote yourself?

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Connect with me on LinkedIn. Then message me to schedule an initial complimentary session.

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Cover Letter or No Cover Letter? | NoBSJobSearchAdvice.com

EP 1040 Should you use a cover letter? If not, what should you do instead?

Summary

Cover letter or no letter? Should you use a cover letter?

The fact is they cover letters are anachronistic if you think of it, what a cover letter was was something that was placed on top of the resume to explain to the reader what they were going to be reading. It explained what you did and how you did it and it preceded the resume.

We're not dealing with that these days. We're not receiving resumes delivered to us through the mail these days. We're sending emails so the notion of putting something on top doesn't work anymore. Some people even make the mistake of sending them as a second attachment. No one opens it up. They look for the document file name and lets them know that that one is your resume.

What do you do instead? I do believe that there is a place for you to explain to a reader what it is they will be reading.

What I want you to do is use the message area of your email like the old cover letter. In effect, that covers your resume.

Instead of saying the Monday of, "I'm forwarding my resume to you for the position of such and such (That's paragraph one). Paragraph two says, "I believe my experience with such and such demonstrates my… You know are going with this." These things don't say anything and no one cares about them.

Here is what you do instead.

Start off with the same introduction and then continue on by saying, "let me show you how my background fits with the role."

If saw an ad or been told by someone about the position, you put those qualifications in the left-hand column. In the right column, you tell them how long and how recently you've done that which they are looking for. In other words, you're making it obvious to them in your "cover email" how your background fits the role. Follow that?

You can go into a little bit of detail. This is the one time I believe you should use tables in presenting credentials; not in the resume but in the cover email because you can make the fit obvious to the reader.

The final paragraph says, "if I haven't heard from you in a few days, I will give you a quick call to see if you have any questions or whether you would like to arrange for an interview."

It's very simple! It also gives you permission to follow up because you giving yourself permission to follow up.

It forces you to do a little bit of work by forcing you to demonstrate how the background actually fits the requirements of the position but it will go a long way toward helping you actually get in the door.

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching and life coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1000 episodes,“ Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Visit www.TheBigGameHunter.us and click the relevant tab on the top of the page.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com offers great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.  

Connect with me on LinkedIn. Like me on Facebook.

Join and attend my classes on Skillshare. Become a premium member and get 1 month free.

You can order a copy of “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.” If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle.”

Don’t forget to give the show 5 stars and a good review in iTunes

If you want to know how to win more interviews, order “Winning Interviews.” You’ll learn how to win phone interviews, in-person interviews, the best question to ask on any interview and more.

Would you like to talk through a salary negotiation or potential negotiation you’re involved with? Order and schedule time with me.

Do you have questions or would like advice about networking or any aspect of your search. Order and schedule time with me.

Would you like me to critique your resume. Order a critique from me

For more about LinkedIn, order “Stacked: Double Your Job Interviews, Leverage Recruiters and Unlock LinkedIn.”

Jeff’s Kindle book, “You Can Fix Stupid: No BS Hiring Advice,” is available on Amazon.