I was recently interviewed for this article published in TheLadders on 12/15/09, and wanted to republish here for reCareered's readers:
Manuscript vs. Machine: Thoughts and notes on cover letter submission from TheLadders’ editor-in-chief.
December 15, 2009
By Matthew Rothenberg
Over the past year, TheLadders’ editorial team has done extensive research into what exactly happens to your resume once you submit it.
Read more ...
A sign of the times: Whether it leaves your desk as an electronic file or an old-fashioned paper document, the chances are its first stop will be screening software known as an applicant tracking system (ATS). This ATS applies an unforgiving set of rules to determine whether your qualifications match the requirements of the job; many distinguished candidates are eliminated from consideration before human eyes ever see their bona fides.
In this era of software screeners, how does your cover letter make the cut?
To answer that question, reporter Lisa Vaas spoke with resume writers, ATS vendors and HR pros. Bottom line: Not every computerized or human screener pays attention to cover letters, but any applicant worth her salt had better assume that letter will be screened. After all, executive career coach Phil Rosenberg reports that most hiring managers he surveyed had passed on candidates with great resumes because of their inadequate cover letters.
Cover letters may seem like small stuff, but sweating the small stuff could make the difference between making the cut or missing your chance.
Matthew, I appreciate that TheLadders republished my survey results, but let's get it right. I doubt you meant this, but your statement was a misleading representation of the finding of research found at "Is Your Cover Letter an Ineffective and Obsolete Tradition?". I reported that EVERY SINGLE hiring manager I surveyed stated that they had never rejected a resume that met their requirements simply due to the lack of a cover letter, yet most hiring managers had passed on candidates due to additional information in the cover letter - the cover letter can be a disqualifier, but the lack of a cover letter doesn't make a difference for the well qualified candidate.
From "Is Your Cover Letter an Ineffective and Obsolete Tradition?":
The research shows that you've got a better chance of success by not sending any cover letter...but if you do send one, it's gotta be perfect.4. Based on interviews with hundreds of executive-level hiring managers: No one has ever told me that they would deny an interview to a candidate whose resume met their hiring criteria, but did not submit a cover letter.
5. Based on interviews with hundreds of executive-level hiring managers: Most hiring managers related that they have denied interviews to candidates qualified by their resume, but disqualified by information on their cover letter.
More from TheLadders next week with Lisa Vaas' article, posing the cover letter or not to cover letter question.
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