Even before I fell into the recruiting industry, I never believed in cover letters. Now that I have been immersed in the recruiting industry for years, I am a firm believer that cover letters are and will forever remain dead.

Here are just a few reasons that job-seekers should stop wasting their time crafting the ultimate cover letter.

1.  Recruiters Don't Even Look at Cover Letters
Seriously, I can count on one hand how many times I have actually read through an applicant's cover letter in my recruiting career.  

What I have found is that the cover letters recruiters do tend to receive are very standard, boring, and oftentimes they are geared toward a different position or even worse - a different organization altogether.

Recruiters are really interested in looking at the substance in the resume, not reading a cover letter that speaks to capabilities.  We want to see actions, achievements, outcomes, work history, and an individual's capabilities based on tangible evidence and skillset.

At the end of the day, it's the resume or social media profile that is the key to an initial conversation with a recruiter - not the cover letter.

2.  Mobile Recruiting is Phasing Out Cover Letters
Job-seekers love simple job applications.  

If it's a one-click to apply option, that is even better.  More and more, mobile recruiting through platforms such as Indeed, Careerbuilder, and LinkedIn are enabling organizations and job-seekers to ease the process of applying to a job.

Organizations requiring prospective candidates to include a cover letter are simply limiting their pool of qualified talent. 

Although many organizations, recruiters, and/or hiring managers may argue that requiring a cover letter helps to see who is really serious about applying to a particular position - I believe this is an outdated philosophy, and once again will end up limiting an organization's qualified talent pool.

Gone are the days of jumping through hoops to apply for a job.

3.  Social Media is Where It's At - Seriously
I cannot speak for all recruiters, but I will tell you that I would much rather take a look at someone's social media sites (specifically LinkedIn) than a cover letter any day of the week.

In fact, I will also argue that having a strong digital footprint is a very attractive quality for an applicant to possess - no matter the position or industry.

Additionally, I utilize social media to compare a candidate's submitted resume to their listed experience on LinkedIn or other avenues.  

Does it correlate?  Are there inconsistencies?  Are there red flags?

Plus, you can oftentimes get a stronger sense of intangible qualities such as a candidate's personality, interests, and activities through their social media profiles - allowing the opportunity to get to know a candidate prior to having an initial conversation.

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Comment by Eric Putkonen on January 25, 2017 at 2:07pm

I would agree...I haven't looked at a cover letter in years.  I wish all companies would stop even asking for them.

Comment by Kristina Evans on January 25, 2017 at 2:17pm

Amen to that Eric!  Glad we are on the same page, and I appreciate you taking time to comment with your opinion on the topic as well.

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on January 27, 2017 at 8:17pm

Food for thought.  Personally, I think cover letters are invaluable, but the types of searches I do are often extremely technical and very esoteric, where a candidate might not mention the specific experience they have in the text of the resume, whereas a cover letter can amplify that experience and provide more detail.  I still find them very helpful sometimes.  For one thing, if a candidate refuses to write a cover letter, despite being asked, that probably means that they aren't very motivated, and it's a good way to screen them out.  Also, hiring managers really appreciate the fact that someone went to the trouble to provide more information and detail....  So, I still like cover letters, while I certainly don't need them or use them all the time.

The best cover letters, for me, are those where I ask the candidate: "Tell me, referencing the details of the job description, exactly why you think you are a good fit for this position, and give me examples."  If the candidate WON'T do that, it generally means that they don't have the right experience or aren't interested enough.  My opinion.

Comment by Kristina Evans on January 30, 2017 at 1:22pm

I absolutely respect your opinion Nicholas, and thank you for taking the time to comment and explain your thoughts on the topic of cover letters.  To each their own!

Comment by Nicholas Meyler on January 31, 2017 at 11:04pm

I got three resumes with cover-letters today, all unsolicited...

Comment by Kristina Evans on February 1, 2017 at 9:09am

Out of curiosity - out of those three cover letters, how many were actually customized and personalized to the company, the job, etc.?

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