WHY BOTHER WITH COVER LETTERS WHEN NOBODY READS THEM?


The standard procedure for getting a job is as follows:

  1. Find the company to apply to that meets your needs, interests, values etc.
  2. Devise a resume and format it the way you think you might be competitive. Make this wild guess based on researching the company website, looking at their testimonials and clients, and, in short, everything.
  3. If they have a job posting, apply for the job with a resume outlining your skills and  a freshly composed cover letter stating your strengths and asking for an interview
  4. If they don’t have a posting, apply with a resume and a freshly composed cover letter speculating there may one there and asking for an interview
  5. If you learn from your research that you know someone there, call them to find out whethere scuttlebutt says there might be a position upcoming.  Ask that person if you can say that you talked to him or her and ask who the HR person would be. Send that person a resume and a freshly composed cover letter stating that you spoke to your friend in accounting who told you there might soon be an opening. Then list all the reasons you would be great fr the position, and  asking for an interview

There are a lot of rumours going around stating  that cover letters are becoming passé. Writing them is a waste of time because employers never read them, and they leave a large carbon footprint because the need to be printed, filed and faxed. They  say that cover letters are becoming a make work projects for HR professionals, and the last thing a job seeker wants to do is tick off an HR professional by providing them with extra paper work.

These arguments are strong, and easy to believe, but where, in all the paperwork you hand in as a job seeker, are you going to get an opportunity to ask for an interview. It would be silly to do it on a resume. If you did that, that would be your objective. This would mean that you would be lying on your resume, hecause everyone knows that the reason for sending a resume is to get a job – not an interview.

Do you smell the same conspiracy as I? Can you see that a rumour like this would benefit the rumour propagator? If everyone sends in a resume, the chances are better for the person who used a cover letter and asked for an interview.

It would be handy if all employers stated they were dead set against interviews, but in my experience only one person actually scolded a candidate for sending a cover letter with a resume. That person is now out of business.

You can believe the rumour if you want to. In fact, in spite of the fact that I spent the better part of this piece discouraging you from believing it, I now encourage it. That way I have a good crack at that position. Perhaps it will be the same position you are seeking.

To answer the perennial  question, “WHY BOTHER WITH A COVER LETTER WHEN NOBODY READS THEM?”

Because everyone reads them.

 Mike Broderick WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he FOUND employment for people with physical disabilities.
HE IS NOW SEEKING OTHER OPPORTUNITIES.
He remains an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at
michael_broderick@telus.net  or at 604-464-4105
If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates .
Apparently 22% of companies in the Greater Vancouver area will be hiring within the next month. Get your resumes ready

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3 Responses to “WHY BOTHER WITH COVER LETTERS WHEN NOBODY READS THEM?”

  1. energywriter Says:

    Great blog, Mike. This should appear in every “how to get a job” manual, and there are dozens out there. Perhaps you could send this to various college “transition” courses, charging for your expertise, of course.

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