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Cover Letters … Are they going the way of dinosaurs?

8 May, 2017

Cover Letters … Are they going the way of dinosaurs?

My client, Joe, asked me, “Are cover letters dead?” He’d read a Fast Company interview with a Jobvite executive. The article, “Cover Letters Are Dead: Do This Instead,” says that the majority of recruiters Jobvite surveyed do not read cover letters.

Is Joe (or are you) wasting time by writing and sending these literary “dinosaurs” in job applications? Jobvite certainly thinks so.

Ah, but point of view matters! In case you don’t know, Jobvite is a recruiting software provider, and they have a vested interest in shortening the recruitment process for recruiters. If you are spending the bulk of your time applying to recruiters via online portals like Jobvite, then do things their way, adjusting your resume to fill the void, as the article suggests.

The article says that, if you opt not to, or cannot, send a cover letter, your resume should begin with a professional summary (I hope you already have one). It also instructs you to include your social media links.

According to the Jobvite executive, recruiters now use your social media input (instead of that “dinosaur” cover letter) to determine your cultural fit with their client companies. In fact, the executive says, “Today, social media can tell a hiring manager a lot more” about a candidate’s fit.

Is that a big red flag? How much can recruiters learn about you via your Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter feeds? My suggestion: Consider adding only LinkedIn to your marketing documents, and only if you are using it purely as a professional forum.

If, instead, you are wisely building and leveraging your network to get your resume into the hands of the hiring managers who are most in need of your skill sets and solutions, then definitely include a cover letter!

Even the Jobvite executive above, who says cover letters are dead, bemoans the demise of what she calls “the perfect place to personalize your pitch and highlight information that doesn’t shine on a [resume].”

How, then, can you optimize your time and effort as you move ahead in your job search? Personalize your pitch in a cover letter, for sure! Highlight uniquely relevant information in the letter to draw readers into your resume. Cover letters are human-to-human correspondence, so use them when you communicate with humans. It’s the right thing to do.

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