Are Cover Letters Unnecessary?

 In Career Tips, Resumes and Cover Letters

Kathy Keshemnberg, NCRW, CCMC

Are Cover Letters Still Necessary?Cover letters … are they wrapping on the gift or unnecessary fluff?

This debate has been going on for many years, but at a recent career industry conference I picked up a few bits of information.

First, proprietary research was presented that revealed 88% of recruiters expect to see a cover letter. That’s a compelling reason to write one! But, what do they want to know?

Well, the main purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself and grab the reader’s attention – get him or her interested enough in you that they will want to read your resume. A cover letter needs to be dynamic – express your value proposition, what it is that you can do for that company … not simply reiterate everything they’ll learn in your resume. This is the most common cover letter mistake I see people making.

Another interesting piece of information mentioned is that the “T-letter” is coming back. This type of letter was popular back in the early ‘90s and, just like fashion trends, is making a comeback.

Basically, this letter is comprised of opening and closing paragraphs with a middle section formatted in two columns.

On the left, the position requirements (taken directly from the posting) are listed and across from each item you match up your qualification. This style of letter allows the reader to quickly understand you are a viable candidate. One caution – this letter format most likely won’t scan well and may not electronically transfer correctly, so mailing a hard copy is advisable.

As a side note, speaking of mailing a copy, that is another trend coming back – because the majority of documents are sent electronically, a nicely printed letter and resume on quality paper is unexpected and will draw attention to you.

Kathy Keshemberg, NCRW, CCMC, is the owner of A Career Advantage, and has provided resume writing and career coaching services for over two decades.

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