Junk Cover Letters Kill Good Resumes
Teena Rose, CPRW, CEIP, CCM
Columnist, Public Speaker & Certified/Published Resumé Writer
Resume to Referral
Too many unprofessional, unfocused, and canned cover letters are floating around
the job-seeking population. So are you surprised when I tell you that a fair
number of hiring managers don't bother reading them?
Although I've seen no official survey on cover-letter readership, it's rumored
that approximately 40% of cover letters aren't read. A number of reasons could
be to blame; and frankly, who wants to spend valuable time reading a cover letter
that sounds like it was written for the company next door too?
Stock cover letters
can kill your job-search efforts, making the task of finding a new position nothing
but a treacherous expedition.
Adding to the anxiety for jobseekers comes the question: who's reading them and
who is not? You could take the chance of not sending one, but then you'll “diss”
those who are expecting a cover letter. The only option is to send one every
time to ensure that your resume is always properly represented.
Writing a great letter takes time. Time that jobseekers oftentimes don't want
to allocate after spending hours tooling their resumes to perfection. Much like
the resume, however, your cover letter must “sing” to the receiver. If it doesn't,
you're soliciting employment on deaf ears. The best way to avoid sending a junk
cover letter is to ask yourself a series of thought provoking questions:
Sometimes it didn't seem to matter if their resume was written in
crayon. The days of jobseekers being in high demand (I'm not referring to all
industries, of course) are no longer the case because employers can now sit back
and “cherry pick” candidates of their choosing, while placing the need for great
cover letters in higher demand.
- Does Your Cover Letter Use a Personable Approach?
Since you were an infant, hearing your name encouraged some reaction from you.
Everyone loves to hear their name from time to time, so don't be afraid of intertwining
the contact's name into the content in one or two key areas.
- Does Your Cover Letter Include Specifics?
How often do you incorporate company-specific details, such as a problem the
company's facing that you intend to resolve, or maybe to congratulate them on
a newly received contract or recent merger? Keep an eye on target companies
by reading daily, weekly, and monthly newspaper publications available in your
area. In order to maintain the pulse of your industry, read everything about
the industry that you can get your hands on. Think of it as private investigating.
Make notations of specific details you want to mention in your next piece of
- Does Your Cover Letter use layman's terms?
Write your cover letter using conversational tone: a writing technique that utilizes
sentences similar to those spoken. Have you ever noticed that we sometimes write
with a very structured tone and utilize words that we would rarely use in everyday
conversation? With a conversational tone, the content should attract readers
because it's immediately different from the dozens, hundreds, or thousands that
the company has previously received.
- Does Your Cover Letter Use Select Keywords/Key Phrases Too?
Much as you designed the resume, weave select keywords and key phrases pertinent
to the position into your letter as well. The sole purpose of the cover letter
is to reflect that you are a ringer for the position. The hiring company is
looking for a good marriage between the open position and potential candidate,
so pulling out key points from the resume and placing them prominently in the
letter can help introduce the broader skill set contained in the resume.
- Does Your Computer House Fifty Cover Letter Versions?
If fifty cover letters are what you'll need to get the job done, then the magic
number is fifty. Focus your energies on the company's wants and needs, not on
your own. With a less than favorable job market, we're definitely in a company
market versus a jobseeker's market from the 90's. Hunted down and offered high
salaries, IT professionals reaped great positions with limited or no working
Don't be intimidated by the depth of work involved in designing a great cover
letter. Think about your job search in terms of quality not quantity. Sending
countless cover letters and resumes is a very time-consuming process that has
proven repeatedly to be a waste of valuable time and money. Jobseekers could
find employment quicker if they took a consolidated and thorough approach to
their search rather than blanketing their efforts with diluted methods (i.e.
Jobseekers sometimes become desperate when jobs seem scarce, and they resort
to quick and ineffective techniques to securing a job. Writing cover letters
that you would want to receive, if you were on the other end of the spectrum,
is a good rule of thumb to follow. Outline all the core elements that are pertinent
to each specific company, using language and specifics that speak directly to
the reader and ensuring it displays you as a perfect match for the opening. With these select techniques, you're destined to secure more interviews and more
©2005 by Teena Rose. All rights reserved.
Teena Rose is a certified and published resume writer and author of The 20-Minute
Cover Letter Fixer and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales
Use Resume to Referral for a high-end, high-quality resume and cover letter package. Learn how to write and design an amazing cover letter at www.resumebycprw.com/cover-letter.htm.