When was the last time you submitted a cover letter with a resume? If you can’t remember, you aren’t alone. Cover letters are quickly becoming a thing of the past with the advent of speed, technology and the sheer volume of resumes submitted for any particular job post, but it wasn’t always this way. Years ago, the cover letter was a tool that recruiters or hiring managers used to get the bigger picture about you and what you had to offer an organization.
Today, however, the average recruiter spends 5-7 seconds reviewing any single resume. In that amount of time, the last thing they are going to do is read a cover letter. In addition, most companies today use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that allow talent to upload their resume which in turn, strips the information, only leaving the most important data for quicker perusing.
Regardless of all of this, the end of the cover letter also signals the end of personalizing your pitch and highlighting information that doesn’t shine on a bulleted job history. To stand out now, applicants need to get creative and change the traditional resume format to serve their needs. Here is what we suggest:
There is one caveat to the death of the cover letter. Sometimes it is used as a test to see how interested and committed you are to the position. So if a company asks for a cover letter, be sure to include one. It may not even be reviewed but those resumes received without a cover letter may be a weeding factor and could automatically be dismissed.
Beyond everything else, focus on the elements of the application process – a strong resume, a professional online presence, and skillful networking – elements that will separate you from the crowd each and every time.
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