Monthly Archives: January 2010

To Cover Letter Or Not To Cover Letter…

Here at Crossroads Consulting, we get approached by job seekers for advice daily…In fact, it’s almost hourly sometimes.  Lately, given the horrific situation out there in the job market, the question has been raised enough times that it warrants us sharing some thoughts with you from OUT OF OUR MIND…

The question concerns the usage of cover letters. What should be in them? Should you use them at all for that matter?

Let’s answer the second one first. Our opinion is it depends upon the level of the job and the company that you’re sending them to. If you’re an executive applying for a C-level position you will most certainly need one. Conversely if you’re at a lower level of authority or just starting your career it will really depend upon the company. When you call to get a name, there is no harm in asking. Also, if you read the ads THOROUGHLY they almost always indicate if they want one or not. If they do, then by all means send one. If they don’t generally it’s a judgment call and we generally lean towards not sending them.

But now, let’s talk in terms of a good cover letter, there are some essentials.

For example: Here’s a basic screw-up that we see constantly.

Make sure the Cover Letter (CL) is addressed to the right person! The one that the job that the letter speaks of… We’d also REALLY recommend that you should have the right name of the company to…but we’re kind of picky that you. You know how it is. 

Don’t be lazy. If you want your resume to stick out from the bunch start with a CL that’s personally written, not addressed “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” or any innocuous non-descript title. Do some research and find out who it is going to. If you’re applying to a large company, the odds are pretty high that it’s going to the Human Resources department.  How hard is it to use Google or even Spoke or pick your favorite search engine and look it up or get the phone number of the company to call there and get it?

Here’s another tip. If you’re sending a CL to a Recruiter, don’t use the phrase, “Working at (or with) your company.” Say stuff like “Working with your client…or with your client company.” The idea in these things is not to put yourself out there to look stupid and get ruled out before you even get to your resume.

Next Up, try and make it more than just a letter written telling people how great you are and how hard you’re going to work and that you can’t wait to lick the garbage out of the pails for them. People aren’t that stupid and they know you’re kissing their asses. Speaking from my own experience both as an eternal job seeker when we were in radio and standup comedy, more people get turned off by it than excited by it.

Keep the message, short, sweet and to the point.

Nobody has the time or the inclination to spend twenty minutes dissecting you CL to try and make sense of it. Just say what you need to and move on.

We can help you by writing these things for you in addition to fixing up your resume. However for that there is a charge of $100 unless it needs a lot of work and then it would be more.

But here’s a freebie that if you use it right will help you, cost you nothing and help you land your next job.

Dear (Name of person making the initial decision to interview. Usually HR, but could also be the Hiring Manager, make sure you know which they are and the correct spelling of their name)

Please consider my letter and resume as an application for the (The title of the position exactly as it appears in the ad) with (The full name of the company).

While your job description had a good amount of information in it, even a well written one does not encompass all the things that you and your company are looking for from of a potential applicant. , Additionally, just as the job description doesn’t have everything about the job, the same can be said for resumes, including mine which you will find attached here.

Based upon the available information you provided at (Name of the place where you saw it…and make sure you have that right) and from what I’ve read, I believe that I have more than enough of the necessary elements you’ve stated in the ad that you require to garner your consideration and an interview for the opportunity to join (The full name of the company).

Please understand that like your job description is just an overview of your company, the same can be said for a resume. To me a resume is just a piece of paper showing you a summary of dates, employers and descriptions of responsibilities. It doesn’t reveal to the reader the depth of the person who I am.

I could make all sorts of claims and it wouldn’t sound any different than any of the other applications that I’m certain that you are receiving…but sitting down and talking together in an interview would.

Please contact me to schedule an appointment.  I would welcome the chance to get to know you and (The full name of the company) better to see if there is a mutually beneficial fit.

I look forward to hearing from you with a positive reply.

Cordially,

If you have any further questions for us, feel free to submit them to AskMitch@crossroadsconsulting.com. We’re anxious to answer your questions and make this a forum to help people in these trying times.

To submit your resume to us, send it in MS Word format and just follow this link