TMM #013 The 90's called. They want their cover letter back. By fax.Sep 06, 2022
The 90's called. They want their cover letter back. By fax.
I used to take a hard stance against cover letters.
I used to refuse to write them.
It was 1 more thing to have to slog through for an application.
It was 1 more thing a hiring manager wasn't going to read.
I figured if Google doesn't require them, why should any one else?
I've since reevaluated my stance on cover letters.
I still don't include them as a standard offering in my resume package.
I do think there is an appropriate use case for them...
Here's my entire take:
Only write a cover letter when you have something special to say that isn't on your resume, else you run the risk of it backfiring. More opportunities to misstep. More time wasted that would be better served networking or building a portfolio to demonstrate your expertise.
As Jalonni Weaver says, "the little details go a long way."
When to write a cover letter:
You want to
You want to and are transitioning careers
You want to and are transitioning careers and have something to say that isn't on your resume
You want to and are transitioning careers and have something to say that isn't on your resume and you have a personal connection to the work
And I suppose if the job requires it... but I have been known to pass on any application that forces a cover letter
Mostly, I am a huge proponent of just adding a crisp professional summary to your resume.
On occasion though, there may be a job that speaks to you personally.
A dream job.
A dream company.
An opportunity that would allow you to align your professional experience with personal values.
Then you've got something interesting to say worthy of a cover letter.
When not to write a cover letter:
You don't want to
You would just be repeating what is listed on your resume
Tips for writing them:
1/ Get clear on your why. Why this job? Why this company? What do you specifically bring to this job?
2/ Read the job posting carefully. Identify key skills, expected deliverables, and keywords.
3/ Research the company. Find their mission statement, their core values, etc.
4/ Assess your experience for related or transferrable experience/accomplishments.
5/ Write your resume weaving in some of your initial discoveries.
6/ Now write your cover letter. It should frame and tee up your resume without repeating it.
7/ Write about why the job resonates with you personally.
8/ Write about how your professional experience and personal values have prepared you to support the organization in delivering its mission.
9/ Don't be afraid to show off your personality and write with authenticity.
10/ Double-check grammar and accuracy.
A cover letter is a personal narrative, which is why I recommend people write their own.
This is why I don't include them in my resume offers.
By special request, I will write them for clients.
But only if it makes sense.
But only if I feel that I can add value.
And definitely only with the understanding that it's done in partnership because it's YOUR story to tell.