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:
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.
If you send the cover letter to a recruiter as an attachment, you can almost guarantee it won't be read.
However, a short, sweet, email along with the resume is a good thing. It's not necessary if the resume is amazing, but it can still be helpful in giving additional insight, and a sense of how well you can communicate.
I would prefer people put more effort into getting all the information into the resume than writing a cover letter. Your resume should tell your story.
I don't read cover letters that people send.
People just don't use cover letters much. I agree that the resume should speak for itself (AND contain the pertinent information needed).
On the flip-side, the purpose of the cover letter is to explain briefly how you'd address a challenge or issue that is important to the company you're applying for. IF it's done well (most aren't, unfortunately), it could get you closer to in the door than just sending a resume. NOTE: Cover letters shouldn't be a copy of what's in your resume. If they are, what's the point?
I can't wait to see what others have to say on this subject....have a feeling it's going to be a hot debate. :)
In my opinion, a cover letter is usually a red flag to me that the candidate has to explain some anomaly on their resume. Ten, maybe 15 years ago...a cover letter might have been a normal tool for a candidate to use. These days you can communicate whatever you might have wanted to say in a cover letter, with a quick call, IM or email.
Plus a resume today is more like a bunch of code. A recruiter scans it like a computer would, more or less, looking for key words and quick blips of info pertaining to employer names and years of experience. Who wants to read a story? I sure as hell don't want to, nor do I have the time to do so.
Then again, most of the candidates I am in contact with I reach out to...so I am asking them for information. For someone spamming their resume to potential employers, I guess they have to do something to explain things since they have no direct line to the recruiter/HM. I feel for people these days, especially the aging workforce and even new grads, as they are helpless competing against ideal candidates that have 3-10yrs of targeted experience.