The digital age has its advantages and its disadvantages. The way you view media, read, write and engage with others has everything to do with how you can get your point across in as little words as possible. The 140-character Tweet has single-handedly redefined the way in which we want and need to get our information. Now think of how that might affect the way in which you come across when you are applying for a job? I’m not saying you should start speaking in sound bites but when it comes to your resume and oh yes, that cover letter-less is most definitely more.
In the “old days” when you were told to include a cover letter it was primarily a way for a recruiter to find out how much you made and what position you were applying for-information you typically don’t include in your resume. That process is no longer relevant in the digital age where recruiters review resumes based on a select criteria where you typically select a drop down to indicate your salary range and the position you are applying to. In the good old days, a recruiter might not even read your resume if your cover letter was not compelling and did not have the required compensation information which could immediately disqualify you from consideration. Now with ATS systems, sophisticated job boards and online portals that allow you to beam your resume to the world-wide-web with one keystroke, the archaic notion of submitting a cover letter with your resume is well, passé.
If you are struggling with whether you need a cover letter the next time you apply for a job, here are three reasons why it may be time to throw it away for the sake of simplicity over form.
- If Your Resume Don’t Say It Your Cover Letter Sure Won’t: When it comes to grabbing a recruiter’s attention immediately (you may only have 10 seconds or less to do that), are you going to bank on your cover letter to tell your story? When you know you only have a finite period of time to make an impression, don’t waste it on a cover letter that no one will read. Make sure whatever you were going to include in your cover letter SCREAMS in your resume. If you are using your cover letter to tell them a little something about yourself-save it for the interview. Make your resume pops with information in a compelling and exciting way that makes the recruiter want to meet you and not just read about you.
- When Was The Last Time You Got a Job Offer Based On Your Cover Letter? Seriously, as you go through your history of job interviews when was the last time someone offered you the position based on the strength of your cover letter-NEVER! And I’m talking about when there was a time recruiter’s or hiring manager’s who actually READ a cover letter! It just does not happen any longer. If your experience, salary expectations and job history are not on point, nothing you can add in a cover letter is going to change whether you get an interview let alone a job offer. It’s best to focus on your accomplishments in the body of your resume and beef up your LinkedIn profile and not worry about using a cover letter to write your biography.
- It’s A Waste of Valuable Time: When you have limited information to upload to an Applicant Tracking System or online job board, don’t waste your time uploading your cover letter. Your resume or portfolio or even a list of awards or accolades are more valuable representations of who and what you are than trying to sound humble yet qualified in the contents of a cover letter.
So the next time you are struggling with whether you should include a cover letter or focus on making your resume compelling, choose the latter because no matter what, people will always ask for your resume or bio and not so much on a cover letter. Out with the old and in with the few.
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