Employers strip cover letters, before adding resumes to their database. So when a company searches for key words, or does word matches to find the best resume, they have already digitally thrown out your cover letter.
EMPLOYERS DON’T INCLUDE COVER LETTERS IN THEIR SEARCH
Employers and recruiters realized just after 9/11 that they could find many micro-targeted resumes by loading resumes into their own HR database and key-word searching. By doing this, they could get 20-30 very close matches, and not have to read through the other thousand resumes who may or may not be qualified.
Employers set up systems to reward candidates who customize their resume to fit the exact words in the job description they post - And then required line managers to scan all resumes through HR databases, in order to accumulate EEOC statistics. In public companies and any company that seeks federal or state contracts (including vendors and subcontractors of companies with federal contracts), these procedures have become part of SOX and it’s audited, with penalties for those who cut corners.
Think about the number of companies that includes:
1) Public companies
2) Regulated companies
3) Governmental entities
4) Companies that sell to governmental entities
5) Subcontractors to companies that sell to governmental entities
6) Vendors of companies that sell to governmental entities
While networking to find a job can help, it still doesn’t keep you out of the HR database, nor change the fact that cover letters aren’t an effective way to customize your resume. Employee referral bonus programs are common in all but the smallest of companies to “bribe” employees to send networked resumes to HR - in order to track the nearly 50% of all resumes that are received through an company’s own employees’ personal networks (see http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-employee-referral-bonus-programs.html).
If you’re applying to a really small company, or the hiring manager is your next door neighbor, you might skate by.
( Continued ... What Are The Statistics On Cover Letters? Any Exceptions? )
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