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Are Cover Letters Obsolete

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There is "A New Reality" in job hunting, Find out here how this affects you.

There is "A New Reality" in job hunting, Find out here how this affects you.

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  • 1. A Practical Guide to Job Search in a Changing World by Perry Newman, CPC www.firstimpressionsresumes.biz 718-332-6130 - perry@perry newman.com Job Hunting in the 21st Century "A New Reality"
  • 2.
    • ARE COVER LETTERS OBSOLETE?
    • THE OLD REALITY
    • Most people, including myself up until 15 months ago, were brought up beleiving a cover letter was part of your overall search strategy, and you included one every time you sent out a resume.
    • THE NEW REALITY
    • In today’s hi-tech world of ATS (Automated Tracking Systems) and social media the rules concerning cover letters have changed.
    • My advice is if a cover letter is requested in the posting, or by the person setting up the interview, you MUST include one! If they ask for your desired salary or a salary history provide this as well.
    • However when a cover letter is optional you don’t send one, and to be polite you can just include a brief introduction in your email.
    • Think of it as being in the US Army: Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell.
  • 3.
    • UNDERSTANDING THE NEW REALITY
    • (Statistics provided by Phil Rosenberg, President of reCareered and a Contributing Author
    • at Business Week, CIO and Fast Company, who speaks to 50-100 decision makers a week)
    • 1. Most company HR departments scan resumes, but don’t scan cover letters into their ATS or OCR systems; and many HR staffs don’t even send the cover letters to the hiring managers along with the resume. In fact according to a recent poll, 66% of the hiring managers said they never receive a cover letter along with a resume.
    • 2. It's a well published statistic that these very same hiring managers spend on average 15 seconds making an interview/non interview decision, and it is impossible to read both a resume and a cover letter in 15 seconds.
    • So you are lucky if 2 out of10 people who receive your cover letter will actually make the time to read it.
  • 4.
    • 3. Based on interviews with hundreds of hiring managers no one said they would deny an interview to a candidate whose resume met their hiring criteria, but did not submit a cover letter; however most of them related that they have denied interviews to candidates qualified by virtue of their resume, but disqualified by information found in their cover letter.
    • 4. Based on interviews with CEOs and VPs of the Top 10 job boards:
    • it was learned that job boards NEVER keyword search cover letters, only resumes.
    • 7. Based on a Linkedin poll 96% of candidates customize the cover letter sent with a virtually static resume , or don't customize anything at all. Only 4% customize their resume. In my opinion these figures are intolerable, and resumes should be customized or at least slightly tweaked at least 75% of the time.
  • 5.
    • In Conclusion
    • 1: Cover letters are rarely part of the decision - but when considered, they work against a candidate more often than for the candidate. So if you are not required to send one, DON’T; and if you must send one be honest and careful about what you say and how you say it.
    • 2: Cover letters effectively decrease a candidate’s interview chances. So if you want to increase your chances for success, you should be spending more time and paying closer attention to customizing your resume for each job you apply for.
    • 3. Rather than send a cover letter that is a rehash of your resume, you may want to extend some basic courtesy to the reader and write a brief letter of introduction, or include one in your email. In it you might want to express how you found about this job (this helps HR track where they are getting the best responses, or if you are a personal referral), why THIS job interests you, and how you can be reached. Then add your sales pitch to help prepare for an interview, and delete it immediately from this correspondence.
  • 6. Rules for Writing A Cover Letter
    • As I just mentioned, when a cover letter is mandatory it is telling you that it will be judged as part of the selection process. Therefore you need to be certain it is a well thought out marketing document that covers all the bases, and aligns with the brand and image you are portraying throughout your marketing portfolio.
    • I can’t be certain that this is the reason why recruiters ask for a cover letter, but in certain searches where I assumed the majority of the resumes I’d receive would be professionally written, I asked for a cover letter to see if the voice of the resume matched the voice of the cover letter. It was not infallible, but it often helped me narrow the field or hone in on inconsistencies during an interview.
  • 7. Rules for Writing A Cover Letter
    • When writing a cover letter you need to cover the following bases:
    • 1: What job is this for; the reader is most likely recruiting for multiple positions.
    • 2: How did you hear about the job – this helps them in tracking their ROI.
    • 3: Why THIS job is of interest to you above all others.
    • 4: What do you know about the job and the company that excites you.
    • 5: What makes you a perfect fit for this job. Describe past achievements that indicate why you will succeed here as well.
    • 6: Include education if it is a positive; as well as how much you are willing to travel if it is a qualifier for this job.
    • 7: Be sure to include contact information.
    • This is the basic information the readers want to know about you.
    • Only include salary requirements if it is specifically requested.
  • 8. Contact & Follow Up
    • If you would like a Free Resume Critique, you can email me a copy of your resume at [email_address] and I will personally call you to discuss your options. (Offer is valid only in USA & Canada)
    • If you already know that you need a more dynamic resume, call me at 718-332-6130; and if you mention this presentation you will get a 15% discount on your purchase. http:// www.firstimpressionsresumes.biz
    • Here is how you can follow me
    • http:// www.linkedin.com/in/perryhnewman perrynewmancpc www.careerrocketeer.com firstimpressionsresumes