Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stop Writing Cover Letters and You’ll Get MORE Interviews

Most people’s first response is….Huh? That’s right, if you stop writing cover letters, you’ll get more interviews.

Most people have been taught paper-based resume strategies, that encourage writing a static resume and customizing with a cover letter. But this strategy doesn’t work in today’s world of digital resumes.

I know it’s counterintuitive, and goes against everything you were taught, but it’s true. I’ll prove it to you with one sentence.


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.

Still a fan of cover letters? Read on….

Employers 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 employers required line managers to scan ALL resumes through HR databases, in order to accumulate EEOC statistics. In public companies, these procedures have become part of SOX and it’s audited, with negative repercussions for those who cut corners.

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. If you’re applying to a really small company, or the hiring manager is your next door neighbor, you might skate by.

Sometimes a cover letter is required by the employer. In that case, make your cover letter basic and static. Put all the meat and customization in your resume, because that’s what will sell you and get searched.

What if the company asks you to tell why you’re perfect for that job in the cover letter? Just say no….don’t do it. Instead, tell the employer why you’re perfect in the resume, by demonstrating how you’ve already solved the problems that department faces today.

If companies digitally search for experience details within your resume, and expect your resume to show why you’re a perfect fit…..

…Why are you wasting all that time on cover letters, when you could be customizing your resume?

If you’d like more information, a free 30 minute resume consultation, or some advice about your career transition, just email your resume to reCareered at, and we'll schedule a time to talk.

No comments: