I have to admit that I like cover letters. After all, I’m a writer and, generally speaking, the more words I can use the better. However, more and more employers are omitting the request for cover letters.
Brooke and I covered that in our Job Search Essentials 3.0 book. Brooke particularly likes email messages that highlight the applicant’s qualifications. I am so insistent on a cover letter that I actually recommend including it as the first page of the resume file you submit.
Not everyone feels the same. Susana Machado in her post Cover letters are in decline, and that’s actually a good thing, notes that more and more organizations are dropping the request for cover letters. But the point of her post is that interviews are better. Yes, of course. That’s the objective of all our job search marketing materials and our networking — landing an interview.
However you feel about cover letters, here’s our recommendations from our book.
Jim’s first big take away from career workshops, particularly those run by recruiters themselves, was that cover letters are not typically even read. They may be glanced at before going on to the resume.
The T format cover letter is formatted into two columns. The first column covers the stated requirements of the job. The second column covers how your experience addresses each of those requirements.
Since learning this little bit of information, we’ve always provided a T format cover letter. We will also note that the work you spend on this type of cover letter is a great way to get started in customizing your resume for each job application.
Add Your Cover Letter to Your Resume
Another way that you can use cover letters is to include them as the first page of your resume in the file you submitted online.
We like this approach a great deal. After all, you’ve spent a great deal of time on both the cover letter and the resume. You want to make sure that the recruiter and the hiring manager see all the pertinent information.
Give that option consideration the next time you forward your cover letter and resume.
Email Options — Your Virtual Handshake
Another approach is to consider the cover letter as a virtual handshake by transferring the content of your cover letter into a format that has a better chance of being noticed and read by a recruiter — copy and paste it into an email, with your resume attached.
Follow Up – Follow Up
Once you’ve applied for a position online or through networking made a connection, it is critical to follow up. Constructing the T formatted cover letter as mentioned above and then copying the content and pasting it within an email and sending it to the employer or network contact will ensure you make a good connection and help you transition into a future conversation with the employer.
Brooke’s experience is a superb case in point. She built her resume and cover letter, forwarded it online through the formal application process, but she didn’t stop there. She found the hiring manager and forwarded the virtual handshake email, built from her cover letter, along with her resume.
The hiring manager responded to schedule an interview. She also asked that Brooke apply online. When Brooke informed her that she already applied online, the hiring manager was astounded to find that Brooke’s application never made it to her.
Lesson – find several ways to get in front of the hiring manager. Then schedule some follow up contact points and methods.
That’s an excerpt from our Job Search Essentials 3.0 book. Hope it helps on your PathForeWord.