This is just a short post. I am writing it because I’ve seen one too many blog articles lately recommending an outdated and obsolete method of differentiation required of you in the job search – the need to write the Cover Letter.
I’ll get to the point…..don’t bother. Here’s why:
1. It won’t get opened.
We are at total media saturation already. Find me one HR Manager, Recruiter or Hiring Manager that has the time to read two candidate documents in a single email, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t know how to prioritise and in all probability will soon be looking for a job himself. The chances of getting your email opened is already low; it follows that your chances of getting your CV read is likely to be even lower. What chance the extraneous cover letter?
2. It’s redundant
Email already does the job. What, you are planning on sending a beautifully crafted cover letter with it’s Dear Marjorie / Yours Sincerely format, and NOT also address your email in the same way? Come on now. It’s repetition – there’s nothing you put in a Cover Letter that you can’t put into the email you’re sending it in. The Cover Letter became an anachronism the moment we all ‘got it’ with email – something like 15 years ago.
3. It’s poor branding
Who writes letters any more? That’s right: utility companies, lawyers, Her Majesty’s Government, and maybe your Grandma on your birthday. Writing a Cover Letter in the job search sets you out in a way you probably didn’t expect and probably don’t intend – old fashioned, quaint, probably very nice …..and unemployable.
Cover Letters are not inherently bad
Now let me be clear: Cover Letters are not inherently bad. It’s just a waste of your time. You’re polishing the leather on the steering wheel, when you need to be putting petrol in the tank. You can do much better with your time by spending it on doing almost anything else (social media marketing, networking, calling people, walking around) than this.
There is only one occasion when a Cover Letter is appropriate; when it is explicitly solicited by an organisation in an advertisement. If there is a line in the advert which says “to apply, send in your Curriculum Vitae along with a Cover Letter explaining your interest in this opportunity”, then by all means, go ahead, write the cover letter and apply. In fact, if you’re going to do that, you might as well go the Full Monty, and print it out and post it.
Any defenders of Cover Letter writing out there? Let’s hear from you!