Cover letters used to be necessary, but having spent more than 15 years as a high-level Recruiter, I am here to tell you that you don’t need to write a Cover Letter in order to get the interview.
Let’s face it. Searching for a new job, especially during the COVID pandemic, is not easy. And, it’s not fun. But there is a process you can use that will get you more calls than the dreaded Cover Letter.
When I was in recruiting, primarily in the financial sector (some Media and Tech too), the first thing I told candidates before reviewing their resume or CV, was
Don’t write a Cover Letter. NO Cover Letter.
I’m sure many of them thought I was nuts. I got a lot of pushback. I need to have a Cover Letter so I can pitch myself, complement the company, show my enthusiasm, or sum up my experience.
Long Cover Letters are just a bunch of fluff. And fluff does not get you the interview. Not writing one does not mean you are lazy. But there is a way to write the opening communication that will work for you.
Think about it…
We live in the instant age.
Boomerang on Instagram for short looping videos.
Twitter for 144 character posts and short videos.
TinyURL to make all those long links readable.
Oevo for 7-second videos.
Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime… shows broken up into digestible bites so you binge.
LOTS of white space in articles.
Posts of only a few words like these 7 from #WinstonChurchill
NEVER GIVE UP. NEVER NEVER GIVE UP.
So what makes you think a potential HR Director or Division Manager is going to spend the time reading your very boring Cover Letter? They may read the first line or two, but if that doesn’t grab them, they won’t even bother with your Resume or CV – that is if it has even been requested.
HINT: don’t send your Resume or CV unless it’s requested.
We’ll talk about how to write your best one yet in a later blog post.
BTW, this blog is already too long! So I’m going to get right to the point.
You write a 4-6 line intro. That’s is. No more.
AND, you don’t send it to the black hole of Human Resources who are very talented, but very overworked employees who just don’t have time for you, unless your intro says IVY League School name…
Tell me more you may be saying. If not, thanks for reading this far.
Before you write the 4-6 line intro, you find the person who heads the division that you want to work for in the company.
How do you do this? Go to the company website, find them, and get their email.
If they don’t list it, find someone else’s and use the same string. First firstname.lastname@example.org or whatever it is.
If you can’t find it that way, you go to LinkedIn and find their profile. And that’s where you reach out if you don’t have their direct email.
REVIEW SO FAR
- Find the person in the company you want to work for.
- Get their email from the website or find their profile on LinkedIn.
Once you have their contact, you want to learn a little about them. Even better, something that relates to you, that creates an instant bond.
What kinds of things do this?
- Where did they go to undergrad, grad?
- Where are they from?
- What are their interests?
- Are you affiliated with any similar organizations?
- What has their career path been – are there any similarities?
- Do you both go back to the Mayflower?
- Just seeing if you’re paying attention. I actually do go back to the Mayflower and found a client just by that connection.
Now that you have done your RESEARCH, you prepare your 4-6 line intro. The opening and close are extra.
Dear Mr. or Ms. X,
I would love the opportunity to meet with you to learn more about your career path at (COMPANY).
You run the division that I have always imagined being part of and contributing to in a meaningful way. My education and background support my interest.
I noticed that you went to Penn. I did too and really appreciate connecting with fellow alum.
Do you have time next week to meet in person or over the phone? I am happy to work around your schedule.
Look forward to hearing from you,
So what are you saying in this abbreviated, readable intro?
- You show interest right away by wanting to hear their story. People love to talk about themselves. Let them.
- You compliment them and they feel admired. Who doesn’t want to know they matter?
- You touch on something you have in common. You can find something you have in common with anyone.
- You ask politely for a meeting. And you are specific.
- You expect they will reply
See all the white space? Every sentence or two is its own paragraph. It’s easy on the eyes and gets to the point.
NOTE: Do not attach your Resume. If you are connecting on LinkedIn they will see your profile.
If they are interested, they will ask for your CV or direct you to their executive assistant to set up a meeting. Or they may do that themself. Even better. Whatever way, they will respond.
Let me know how it goes for you!