A reader writes…
I have two questions that I hope you can address: What’s the secret to a good cover letter? And is a cover letter even necessary these days?
I have been asked to address the cover letter question by a few readers as I know it’s a hot topic when it comes to searching for a job. I can’t tell you how many cover letters I have seen over the years that look like a generic template and a game of plug-and-play (insert name here… insert date here…. etc.) I’ve even seen cover letters that have a different color font where the hiring manager’s name is supposed to go… a tell-tale sign that it is a standard form letter that has been forwarded or used countless times.
My advice is this…
- If you’re writing a cover letter just because you think it’s the right “protocol”… Don’t bother.
- If you plan to reiterate the content of your résumé in your cover letter… Don’t bother.
- If your cover letter is not a quick, relevant read… Don’t bother.
I, personally, only think a cover letter is necessary if you’re changing careers or if you need to clarify certain things that your résumé can’t explain alone. A cover letter can also serve as a nice personal touch if you recently spoke to someone (say, a hiring manager) about a position. You can use the letter as a thank you for their time and consideration as well as to reiterate 4-5 key reasons why you would be a good fit.
I found the following article on CareerBuilder that I think “covers” the cover letter question very well. I encourage you to take a look: http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-2446-Resumes-Cover-Letters-Do-I-really-need-a-cover-letter-New-thoughts-on-an-old-standard/
Okay HR and Hiring Managers… we want to hear from you. Do YOU think cover letters are necessary? Do you even read them? Please post your comments here!