Nobody Reads Cover Letters. Well, except…

There is a lot of chatter about cover letters… do you send one? Do you not?

One thing I hated in my job search was customizing resumes and cover letters for jobs I applied to.  I got down to a few versions of my resume (for different job titles), but I normally customized the cover letter quite a bit.

Sometimes it could take more than an hour to customize… do that a few times a day and you have burned through that day!

Recruiters and HR are both saying they don’t read cover letters.  With their technology, I’m not convinced they read a lot of resumes (because they use their technology, known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), to weed through the “bad” ones before they even spend time on the “good” ones).

So why create a cover letter?  Are cover letters dead?  Are they a waste of time and paper?

NO.  I don’t think so.

Granted, I’ve never been a recruiter, and I’ve never been in HR.

But I have been a hiring manager.  Here’s what I would do:

  • Skim over the cover letter and then check out the resume.
  • If the resume was a keeper, I’d keep it in a pile.
  • Go through the pile to find the top 3 – 5 resumes I really liked.
  • Then, go read them more in depth, and do more research on the candidate.

Best tool to do research, at that point?  THE COVER LETTER.

I would not read ALL of the cover letters, but I would read the cover letters of the people I really liked.

Feel free to listen to the naysayers and ditch your cover letter, but I say SEND IT.  It might not be instrumental in getting past the initial screening, but once you are in the short list you don’t want to look like you are incomplete…

Have a strong cover letter, and send it in with a resume!  That’s my advice.

But who am I?  Just a hiring manager…

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