If you’re an IT professional entering the job market , we’ve got something to tell you that will make you smile – maybe even shout for joy.  Here goes….

You may never have to write another cover letter as long as you stay in the technology profession!

See, we knew you’d smile :)

If you’re like the majority of job seekers, you’ve probably spent a fair amount of time during your IT job search writing the perfect cover letter. And you’ve spent all that precious time writing this document because…well, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Right?  We won’t say “wrong” but we will say “not necessarily.” 

Back in the day (before the iPod, iPad or iAnything), it was a golden rule that the cover letter always accompanied the resume. No ands, ifs or buts about it. The cover letter, so we’ve been told, must be engaging, position-specific and well-written. It must describe why you are interested in the position and what qualifications or experience makes you a good fit. It should outline your relevant experience and reflect your willingness to learn. It should also be used as an opportunity to highlight a special skill or quality you possess that would be an asset to any organization.

But wait. If the cover letter serves such an important purpose, why are we saying “fugheddaboudit?” There are three reasons, but we want to preface that the cover letter is NOT obsolete.  Job seekers (especially outside the technology industry) should be prepared to submit a cover letter when applying directly to HR or the hiring manager because a personalized, tailored letter may help to get their attention. However, when working directly with an IT recruiter, do what the gang from The Jersey Shore would do and fugheddaboudit. Here’s why:

  1. For the recruiter, the resume is the cover letter. The resume is what recruiters use to screen candidates. Because recruiters must fill numerous positions for multiple clients in very short timeframes, they don’t have time to sift through information that may or may not be pertinent to the job they’re trying to fill. This is why a customized resume highlighting skills relevant to a particular position/role is vital. If your resume impresses the recruiter, she’ll want to talk to you and that’s when you can provide additional information that isn’t included on the resume.
  2. The recruiter will search social media sites to find out more about you. If your resume gets the recruiter’s attention, it’s almost a guarantee that she will turn to social media to do a little investigative work.  For example, the recruiter may go to your LinkedIn page to review and compare work history, read recommendations, and see if there is a network connection to her or anyone she may know.  Social media is an important recruiting tool, so don’t underestimate its influence during the hiring process. We’ve blogged about social media extensively – if you want to know more about how to effectively use social media during your job search a good place to start is here.
  3. Believe it or not, 99 percent of the time our clients never request a cover letter. Simply put, they don’t have time. That’s why your resume must clearly communicate the skills, experiences and results that pertain to the position you’re applying to.

With all that said, having a “back up” cover letter is always a good idea. For instance, if the client isn’t totally sold on your skills listed on the resume, the recruiter can use information contained within the cover letter to persuade the client to consider you. The hiring manager may also be interested in viewing the cover letter to show him that you can write a sentence and know how to communicate effectively.

Bottom line, when you’re working with a recruiter don’t spend time writing an eloquent cover letter. Instead, use that time to create a powerful resume and online presence.

Views: 637

Comment by Scott Pugh on May 20, 2011 at 1:37pm
fax it to me

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