Junk Cover Letters Kill Resumes
by Teena Rose of Résumé to Referral http://www.resumebycprw.com
Too many unprofessional, unfocused, and canned
cover letters are floating around the job-seeking population. So are you
surprised when I tell you that a fair number of hiring managers don't
bother reading them?
Although I've seen no official survey on cover-letter
readership, it's rumored that approximately 40% of cover letters aren't read. A
number of reasons could be to blame; and frankly, who wants to spend valuable
time reading a cover letter that sounds like it was written for the company next
door too? Stock cover letters can kill your job-search efforts, making the task
of finding a new position nothing but a treacherous expedition.
Adding to the anxiety for jobseekers comes the question:
who's reading them and who is not? You could take the chance of not sending one,
but then you'll “diss” those who are expecting a cover letter. The only option
is to send one every time to ensure that your resume is always properly
Writing a great letter takes time. Time that jobseekers
oftentimes don't want to allocate after spending hours tooling their resumes to
perfection. Much like the resume, however, your cover letter must “sing” to the
receiver. If it doesn't, you're soliciting employment on deaf ears. The best way
to avoid sending a junk cover letter is to ask yourself a series of thought
- Does your cover letter use a personable approach? Since
you were an infant, hearing your name encouraged some reaction from you.
Everyone loves to hear their name from time to time, so don't be afraid of
intertwining the contact's name into the content in one or two key areas.
- Does your cover letter include specifics? How often do
you incorporate company-specific details, such as a problem the company's
facing that you intend to resolve, or maybe to congratulate them on a newly
received contract or recent merger? Keep an eye on target companies by reading
daily, weekly, and monthly newspaper publications available in your area. In
order to maintain the pulse of your industry, read everything about the
industry that you can get your hands on. Think of it as private investigating.
Make notations of specific details you want to mention in your next piece of
- Does your cover letter use layman's terms? Write your
cover letter using conversational tone: a writing technique that utilizes
sentences similar to those spoken. Have you ever noticed that we sometimes
write with a very structured tone and utilize words that we would rarely use
in everyday conversation? With a conversational tone, the content should
attract readers because it's immediately different from the dozens, hundreds,
or thousands that the company has previously received.
- Does your cover letter over-use select keywords/keyphrases?
Much as you designed the resume, weave select keywords and key phrases
pertinent to the position into your letter as well. The sole purpose of the
cover letter is to reflect that you are a ringer for the position. The hiring
company is looking for a good marriage between the open position and potential
candidate, so pulling out key points from the resume and placing them
prominently in the letter can help introduce the broader skill set contained
in the resume.
Don't worry if you have a collection of fifty different
versions of your cover letter. If fifty cover letters are what you'll need to
get the job done, then the magic number is fifty. Focus your energies on the
company's wants and needs, not on your own. With a less than favorable job
market, we're definitely in a company market versus a jobseeker's market from
the 90's. Hunted down and offered high salaries, IT professionals reaped great
positions with limited or no working experience. Sometimes it didn't seem to
matter if their resume was written in crayon. The days of jobseekers being in
high demand (I'm not referring to all industries, of course) are no longer the
case because employers can now sit back and “cherry pick” candidates of their
choosing, while placing the need for great cover letters in higher demand.
Don't be intimidated by the depth of work involved in
designing a great cover letter. Think about your job search in terms of quality
not quantity. Sending countless cover letters and resumes is a very
time-consuming process that has proven repeatedly to be a waste of valuable time
and money. Jobseekers could find employment quicker if they took a consolidated
and thorough approach to their search rather than blanketing their efforts with
diluted methods (i.e. mass emailing).
Jobseekers sometimes become desperate when jobs seem
scarce, and they resort to quick and ineffective techniques to securing a job.
Writing cover letters that you would want to receive, if you were on the other
end of the spectrum, is a good rule of thumb to follow. Outline all the core
elements that are pertinent to each specific company, using language and
specifics that speak directly to the reader and ensuring it displays you as a
perfect match for the opening. With these select techniques, you're destined to
secure more interviews and more job opportunities.
Teena Rose operates a prominent and
professional resume writing service, Resume to Referral.
She’s authored several career
books, including "20-Minute
Cover Letter Fixer"
to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book"
and "Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales."
Teena Rose, CPRW, CEIP, CCM
Resume to Referral
7211 Taylorsville Road, Office 208
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Phone: (937) 236-1360
Fax: (937) 236-1351