I had a number of people on the Skills to Achieve Facebook page ask me to write an article on writing a Cover Letter. So here I go.
The first thing you have to remember when writing a cover letter is… if they are ever read (which is less than 10% of the time) cover letters are NEVER used to move you to the interview stage, they are only ever used to help eliminate you.
Yes, years ago writing a cover letter could make a difference. Back when hiring managers had the time to read them they were used to identify strong candidates. Now a cover letter is only used to eliminate you. That is one of Hiring Managers greatest tricks, they’re sneaky and are always looking for faster ways to eliminate you!
Here is an excerpt from my new book Find Your DRIVE about the risk of writing a cover letter.
I did a one hour presentation for 22 of the top Career Service Managers of some Post-Secondary Institutions in Alberta, Canada. I didn’t talk about the risks of writing a cover letter or how to write a cover letter, because they don’t matter. But once I was done all they wanted to talk about were cover letters.
One woman who had been a career counselor for 20+ years was adamant that they were relevant and she cited her own personal experience. She had been hiring for a position in her department and had taken the time to read through every candidate’s cover letter.
When I asked her why she responded, “I was checking for grammar and how strong their English was.”
An individual who teaches people how to find jobs, who is adamant her clients include a cover letter only used the cover letters (she is so adamant about) to eliminate candidates that had applied to her position.
Another gentleman on our Facebook page commented that once he moved his profile and summary to his cover letter he started getting more interviews. He thought that because his cover letter was stronger he was getting more interest.
The truth is because he put his profile and summary (which really hurt your chances of getting an interview) his resume was cleaner and easier to read. That’s why he was getting more interviews.
That is why it’s so important to focus on what you love to do and release yourself from your own career “monkey trap.”
Here is the most important thing I tell all of my clients when I coach them about getting hired. Question everything everything your job search strategy. Ask “does it help me get eliminated or help me get hired?”
If the answer is “no” STOP doing them. If the answer is “yes” inject it into your job search and focus on it. If you’re not sure – it’s probably a no.
Don’t forget you can sign up for my FREE eBook and start changing the way you approach resume writing.
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world… usually do.” Apple Commercial from 1997…