The Point of Cover Letters

So if you wanted a good laugh today, here are some fun reads from the world of recruiting…ah, yes. The notorious cover letter. Done well, they can distinguish you from a stack of resumes in a recruiter’s inbox. Done poorly…well…you end up on blog postings like this. 😉

My personal favorite?

“My name is ____, and I kick ass. See resume for details.”

Ironically, it would still probably catch my attention because of its sheer absurdity. 😮 So I guess it would work. But that’s just me.

Personally, I was never a fan of cover letters while in the corporate space. Why? Because 9 out of 10 times, they were poorly written and really didn’t add much value beyond re-hashing the person’s resume (which is pointless).

So if you’re applying for a job at the moment and a cover letter is a must, here are a few pointers so you DON’T end up on a list of bad cover letters somewhere in the blog world:

  • Keep it relevant –– if all you do is copy and paste the same cover letter from job application to job application, you’ve got it all backwards. You need to customize and make your letter relevant for that specific position (yes, this can be a pain in the butt. But ask yourself: do you want the job?). Look through the job description for pointers on what that organization is looking for…then incorporate the top 1 or 2 things you feel they desire in a candidate in your letter.
  • Know why you’re unique –– what makes you stand out from the crowd for this position? Most recruiters read the same generic cover letters day in and day out. Figure out a way to stand out, and you’re one step closer to getting face-time with the organization.
  • Keep it concise –– one or two paragraphs max (3-4 sentences per paragraph). The challenge here is to write something relevant and unique…while trying to cram it into a space that you probably don’t feel does it justice. Yes, this makes the exercise of writing a cover letter hard. But no recruiter wants to read a five paragraph essay on why you’re a perfect fit.


Filed under Interview

2 responses to “The Point of Cover Letters

  1. Ben

    Not even a five paragraph essay from me?

  2. Sorry…not even from you. 😉

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