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6 Reasons to Send a Cover Letter With Your Resume

Cover letter conceptThe importance of cover letters sometimes engenders lively debates among hiring managers, job seekers, and career professionals, and all sides have compelling arguments. Some say recruiters do not have the time to read cover letters, especially when they are under pressure to find the right candidate. Others say that fifty percent of recruiters do not read them. If that’s the case, what happens to the other fifty percent who do spend the time to read these them?

Having participated in and researched the various arguments, here are six reasons a job seeker might want to include a cover letter with his or her resume:

Fifty percent of recruiters read cover letters: While it is commonly argued that fifty percent of recruiters do not read cover letters, the other fifty percent does. Therefore, if there is a fifty-fifty chance that a cover letter is going to be read by a recruiter, why not include one with your resume?

Most employers expect a cover letter with the resume. A 2012 survey conducted by Officeteam revealed that 91% of executives said cover letters were valuable when evaluating job candidates.

The resume is only half-dressed without the cover letter. Sometimes the resume is not enough to convey the job seeker’s qualifications and interest in the role, and gives the impression that something is missing. Adding a cover letter completes the picture. It also is an opportunity to answer potential questions before they are asked. For example, “Why are their gaps in your employment?”

The cover letter demonstrates your contribution. Adam Bryant aka @NYTCorneroffice, contributor at the New York Times, was asked on LinkedIn’s How to Hire series, if a cover letter really helps in the decision to hire. He said,  “The magic word for a cover letter is contribution. You want to show that you are ready to make a contribution, rather than just hoping for a pay cheque; that you have done your homework, you are excited about the vision, and that you understand what the company does.

The cover letter is your elevator pitch for your resume. In an interview with Careerbuilder, Jodi R.R. Smith, president of Mannersmith, a Massachusetts-based etiquette consulting firm, said, “The cover letter is the elevator pitch for your resume. It’s your best bet for grabbing the recruiter’s interest so that the recruiter wants to review your resume.” Learn how to polish up your cover letter much like you do with your elevator pitch.

The cover letter is an opportunity to tell your unique story and make a good first impression.  A cover letter should create a strong first impression and tells the employer why you are the best person for the role. “Submitting a resume without a cover letter is like not shaking hands when meeting someone for the first time,” says Dave Willmer, executive director of OfficeTeam. “Those who aren’t including cover letters with their resumes are missing an opportunity to make a good first impression and set themselves apart from other job applicants.”

How about you? Which side of the cover letter debate are you on?  Should you or should you not send a cover letter with your resume? Share your comments below.

The cover letter demonstrates your contribution. Adam Bryant aka @NYTCorneroffice, contributor at the New York Times, was asked on LinkedIn’s How to Hire series,

Monday Morning Rx: Who Can You Network With Today?

Are you someone who believes that networking doesn’t work for you? If you do, then you may have the wrong concept about the process. It is not schmoozing or ‘brown-nosing’, it’s not about handing out business cards, and it’s not about asking for a job. Networking is about building relationships. Getting to know people who can offer you assistance and who you can also help, and…there are many people out there just waiting to be asked for help.

It is said that between 65-80% of opportunities – job or business – are found through networking. Networking opens the doors to the hidden job market, but most job seekers use it the wrong way. They believe networking is all about asking for a job, and so they irritate people by telling them, on first meeting, how long they have been unemployed and can they help them find a job. They miss out on the relationship-building piece.

Author Job & Success Expert Harvey McKay said, “If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve met in my lifetime, I’d have to say it’s the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts.” 

What are your networking plans today? Make an effort to contact someone you have always wanted to meet and start the relationship-building process.  Nurture that relationship and see what happens!

If you are stuck in a career or networking rut, pop into our CareerTips2Go Cafe, and let’s talk!