Sorry, I probably won’t read your cover letter

by Rich DeMatteo on January 27, 2010 · 67 comments

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Like many recruiters, I rarely read cover letters.  Most of us zoom right into the resume for a quick scan of the candidate and avoid the cover letter whenever possible.  Why should we read two different documents that are basically trying to say the same thing?  When we have 100 resumes to read, why read 200 documents instead of just 100?

When do I read cover letters?

  • Writing intensive position (Technical writing, Marketing Communications, etc)
  • Hiring manager specifically requests them
  • Candidate says something ridiculous or interesting that makes me want to read further
  • Cover letter is sent in the body of the e-mail, NOT as an attachment

What do the experts say?

Recruiters – Recruiters that work in high volume environments will say they are too busy to read them.  Unless their internal or external client is asking for a resume, I doubt it will be read.

HR – People in HR that have some recruiting duties will most likely say they always read them.  Maybe it is because of their HR blood and a commitment to process, process, process.  Also, HR folks that also recruit sometimes work for companies that aren’t experiencing volume in hiring, or else their company would hire a recruiter, or another recruiter to handle it.  This may mean they will spend a few more minutes to read each cover letter since it might be the only opening.

Professional Resume Writers – They will tell you that it’s absolutely necessary to have a strong cover letter with your resume.  Not only do they make money off of it, but they also do make some great points, or have seen candidates hired simply for having a well-written cover letter.

My suggestion…

You clearly need one.  Everyone has their own opinion, so my suggestion is to write up a quick cover letter that you can easily tweak around for each position.  Also, stop sending your cover letter as an attachment, I hate that.  I don’t want to click on more than one thing when I open up your e-mail.  If you write it in the body of the e-mail, I might actually read it, and like it.

What do you think?  Tell me…

Recruiters – Do you read the cover letter every time?  What will make you read it?  Why don’t you read it?
HR – What is your take on this?  If your HR duties also include recruiting, do you read the cover letter every time?
Resume Writers – Why do you think cover letters are important?  Any success stories to share…?
Job Seekers – Do you send in a cover letter for each job?  Ever hired for simply the cover letter alone?
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56 comments
RLHenninger
RLHenninger

I am a professional resume writer and actually tell my clients pretty much what you've outlined above. Yes, you need one, yes it has to be concise and grammatically correct but NO it will not be read by everyone and NO it will not get you the job. I like a brief, targeted letter that contains all the important info and professional branding statement above the fold, so that it will be read and absorbed in an email and/or outlook reading pane window. 

Andrew
Andrew

Rich, Thanks for the advice on CLs. Definitely a new direction I hadn't considered before (although a year plus being unemployed does a number on your sanity and what you thought you knew). My personal favorite is the online applications where it is REQUIRED that you list your job experience in detail (especially when they give you a limited space to do so), and THEN ask you for either a resume or CL, or both...Ahhhhh! Why is such a supreme redundancy required? I get the move towards ATSs for corporations, and I'm on board with it. But why make me spend double the time to include the same thing twice?

Sunny Jo
Sunny Jo

Rich, I have to say that my initial reaction when I see "Send resume with cover letter" in a want ad is "UGHH! Why do they need a cover letter when they can clearly see by the resume what I have to offer?". I've thought about this. My opinion is two-fold. One, perhaps a resume is overkill, meaning the owner puts too much "essay fluff" in their job description making it hard for the reader to actually ascertain just how this person might be qualified for the available position. On the other hand, maybe the resume is not detailed enough due to a lack of work experience and this is an opportunity to add some qualities about yourself or your goals that you normally wouldn't put in a resume. Recent college grads have this problem and should utilize this small request as best as possible! Personally, my resume is probably overkill, however, considering the field that I come from (Software QA), a 3-4 page resume is not out of the question. Additionally, my getting a job depends highly on whether or not I have the right keywords in my resume for the recruiter's database to even recognize that I may be qualified to fill a specific requirement. I do preface my resume with a Qualifications Summary page. It outlines the major qualifications I possess at a glance, this way a recruiter can skim down the page quickly and see what I have to offer. I also include a matrix at the end detailing the different software applications I am familiar with and have hands on experience, as well as the industries I have applied this knowledge. I know I have these items in my resume, but the person requesting it doesn't until they see it. So I just grin & bear it when asked for a cover letter. I would rather comply with a small request than lose out because I blatantly ignored it. The latter may very well be the difference between getting a job or not.

Alex
Alex

It's interesting that you mention not pasting the resume into the body of the email. I've heard other HR folk say that this is the best to do it, as it puts the resume front and center, saving everyone time (not that it's so much effort to open up an attachment). In my job hunt, I've gone back and forth on what I do. Paste in the body, use an attachment, back and forth. There have been bites for both styles. If you had to guess at it, how popular do you think your methodology is?

Lindsay
Lindsay

Interesting that you don't read them. In applying for publishing jobs, I've found that a lot of companies' HR sites won't even let me proceed with the application until I copy/paste in my cover letter. It's frustrating, because I know that, like you, a lot of recruiters won't even read it!

Kate
Kate

One question or thought that I am playing around with as I am searching for a job is this: what is the best way to stand out from the crowd? I know, a very original question. However, in speaking with a friend about our mutual job-hunts, we got to talking about the idea that perhaps an introduction and a shaking of the hand while hand-delivering a resume might be more effective. The idea being that employers and recruiters do not like the hiring process because there is fear around hiring the wrong person (I don't know this person they might not work out), there is a great amount of risk associated with hiring someone new. So how, as someone new to a company/organization/employer do I encourage them to take a chance on me when they don't even know what I look like or what type of Font I prefer when composing a CL? If they are not actually reading my CL, they are not getting a sense of who I am as a person and as an employee. They are simply reviewing my work experience to date. How do I stand out from the crowd, to land the interview?

Casey Looney
Casey Looney

Being an HR Manager with some recruiting duties I only read the cover letters if they are in the body of the e-mail. Additionally, that is the only way I will send my resume out. If I receive it as an attachment, I open the resume first and will then only open the cover letter if the resume is promising. Call it lazy, or efficient.

Jonathan Hyland
Jonathan Hyland

Cover letters suck. Period. I think they're useful for some high-level jobs or jobs that require a great deal of creativity. For the most part, though, recruiters could probably spare themselves the 15 seconds and not ask for one. As for the Anonymous LX guy, clearly he was expecting something a little more profound than cover letter advice. Maybe a job or something. Like I've said here and elsewhere, these trying times can demonstrate to recruiters and employers that you're resilient and you try hard. In any case, I think he was just frustrated, spied your blog, and decided to vent his frustrations out on you. I wouldn't take it terribly personally. Thanks for sharing Rich!

Monica O'Brien
Monica O'Brien

I believe you that recruiters don't read cover letters, especially when they are attachments (why wouldn't you paste into the body of the email?) But it kind of sucks because everyone still asks for the traditional resume + cover letter. So it seems like there is no alternative, because I still would have to write one, and I still want it to be good just in case someone reads it. So my question is, if people don't have time to read those cover letters, why continue asking for them? Why not just ask for a resume and decide from there whether you want to interview? Are cover letters outdated to the point where we need to change our thinking?

Krista Francis
Krista Francis

I'm HR and I *do* like cover letters for many positions. We are a faith-based social services nonprofit and covers work for my org because they allow the candidate to address the 'why' and express their passion for their work in a way that resumes don't. For example, a person may mention they were raised with a cousin with Down syndrome or convey their desire to work in a faith-based setting. (I'm willing to bet you don't include either fact in your resume.) Obviously we are a niche industry and many other recruiters and HR pros may not to receive, store and read additional documents that don't add value in their situations. I agree you should have a basic cover letter ready and customize it when it makes sense to include it. As others have said, don't create a second attachment and definitely follow application instructions. If the directions say "resume and cover," by all means, include a cover.

Teresa Chapman
Teresa Chapman

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. Really though Rich, you may not have been in the business long enough if one person expresses their frustration and you announce on Twitter that you've received "hate mail." ;) I think companies should also take into consideration that the right employees are often judging the recruiter/employer just as much as recruiters are judging applicants, and so they should. I am not really interested in working for a company if they are vague or expect me to guess, and are not respectful of my time. And it's incredibly condescending if those in the position of hiring take the "beggars can't be choosers" stance. Honestly these types of advice blogs are not helpful unless I am specifically applying to work for you or the companies you personally recruit for. Since all recruiters admit to having their own personal preferences, I'll go back to my original point and that is to please just be clear about your expectations or preferences in your job posting. And also be aware of how many scammers/spammers appear above or below your posting - it's getting very difficult to discern what's legitimate when there is no company info/website/clear instructions, etc... I don't think it's high maintenance to ask everyone to be respectful of people's time and efforts.

Kelly Cuene
Kelly Cuene

I think this is great advice - and honest, not condescending. The bottom line is, job seekers really don't know how the person receiving their application materials will receive them and how much time he/she might have to review them. I'm a college career advisor, so I tell students to write something brief and concise yet tailored and interesting in a cover letter included in the body of an email. By keeping it brief, the student/job seeker is not spending an excessive amount of time on a document that may never be read, and they are saving the recruiter/HR/hiring person time as well. Only if someone is applying to a position where a search committee is likely involved, which means emails may be forwarded on to several decision-makers (this happens a lot when applying for jobs in higher education), do I suggest including the cover letter in the body of the email as well as attaching it. That being said, I can see lx's point that it's not that difficult to open an attachment, especially if it's someone's job to screen applicants and read that stuff. The reality is though, that when a job seeker applies for a position the recruiter/HR person/etc. usually has the upper hand, so it's best to try to make it as easy as possible for that employer to see how you are a good fit for the position/company.

Tammy Colson
Tammy Colson

In regard to cover letters, I will read it if in the email, I will not if attached. Similarly, I prefer the resume attached, and please, don't use a completely random format (ie, OS or platform specific) I also have issues when the email is the resume. That requires me to cut/paste your resume to print or import into my ATS. The key is to make the process as easy for the recruiter/person reviewing the resume as humanly possible. That is what gets you to step #2. As to Mr. LX - expressing frustration in that manner may be why the individual is having job search issues. Recruiters providing advice on how to get your resume read is VALUABLE. This is how we work, don't shoot the messenger, dude (or dudette). What exactly should Rich be telling you if this isn't what you want to hear? More fluff that can be found all over the net? That we will cater to the whims of random applicants? that we will interview you because you say you have "mad skills", even though we know your skills aren't what we need? My job is to find the most efficient method of locating the best candidates for a given position. My obligation is to the company, not the applicants. I will treat you politely, but I have no obligation to you, and if you are a high maintenance applicant, you WILL be a high maintenance employee. And good grief, I don't need any more of those.

Andrew
Andrew

Great post Rich! I usually put the cover letter and resume in the body of the email to make it easier for the recruiter/employer to see everything and attach necessary files as well. And on a similar note, how often do you click links? I usually provide a link to my portfolio, blog or extended resume if it's applicable to the position, but is it worth my time to do it?

lx
lx

Sorry, I probably won't read your column. Sir, you need to seriously re-consider your attitude and ideas pertaining to candidates for positions. Your advice/opinion is beyond condescending to the literate candidates searching employment and does a great dis-service to those qualified and willing to work. As a potential recruiter, state your preferences...such as: "don't send attachments." Although I must say, in the 21st Century if you're not willing to receive and open a Word or OpenOffice or .PDF attachment you are just simply lazy. Woe is you, you have 200 attachments to open. It's your job. Spare us the condescension and write up some relevant advice for job seekers.

David Sandusky
David Sandusky

My approach is a bit different. first: where I am coming from: (1) Retained executive recruiter w/ 10K hours interviewing execs and who knows how many resumes and covers. (2) Hiring for my own interests. I see the cover like an executive summary for a business plan. Resume or business plan will not be read without a thoughtful cover. Why, covers prove everything. Did candidate put effort to address me and show above and beyond homework has been done about me, my business and industry trends? A pithy cover that says why me? what is in it for you, so what and how wins. At that point I scan the resume for talking points. In other words, some of us READ the cover and only SCAN the resume. Man, it is tough to stand out...what to do, what to do...? Oh, I agree about the attachments so I offer this advice to candidates. Include the cover as page one in the attached resume and as the body in the email for convenience. My convenience.

Teresa Chapman
Teresa Chapman

What I would love is for all recruiters or anyone posting a vacancy to just tell job seekers in the job description exactly what you want. I've applied for probably close to 25 jobs in the last couple of weeks and each one had different application requirements or none at all. I'm not asking that there be a standard among all recruiters, except to not expect that job seekers be mind readers. We are super accommodating but not super-human. Job hunting is a full-time job in itself.

Scott Hale
Scott Hale

Number one thing I've noticed to be true that you mentioned: If your "cover letter" is the body of an email (rather than an attachment), it will be read. I wouldn't suggest taking advantage by writing a massive email, but I would take a note and write a quick and powerful email to accompany your resume. The question I have is this: If the body of your email acts as a cover letter, should you also attach a cover letter document to show that you did indeed write a cover letter? I've also used the "something crazy" to entice the reader into going further before - I wouldn't say it helped me in the long run, but it did lead to interest and a conversation...so I know they read it.

Ryan Stephens
Ryan Stephens

I'll read them if LOST or Dexter isn't on... In all seriousness, I like cover letters. I can get the jist of a resume in about 30 seconds, so I'll usually take the time to go through a cover letter because to me it can convey so much more about the person than a resume. Granted, all this is dependent on the job at hand. Anytime I've read resumes it's been to hire interns/entry-level type people. I can teach them to do the work if they're the kind of person that's passionate and wants to learn and those are attributes I can find in a cover letter that I can't necessarily find in a resume. Good diagnosis here Rich!

JD Morley at CareerDaisy
JD Morley at CareerDaisy

" When do I read cover letters? * Candidate says something ridiculous or interesting that makes me want to read further..." Ridiculous, like... totally off-base and inappropriate, and you'd show your colleagues and laugh and never want to hire that person? Or ridiculous like... quirky, funny, but otherwise respectable...an attention-grabber perhaps?

Lindsey
Lindsey

You just confirmed everything I thought about recruiters... EVIL !! :) just kidding. But in all seriousness, it's at least good to know that you'll read the CL if it's in the body of an email.

Jen
Jen

This is great info, especially because I'm getting ready to get serious about finding a new job. I had always spent a lot of time on my cover letters in the past and maybe now I won't worry so much. I have one question though, my cover letters tend to be very formal and stiff. I have actually gotten a better response from people when I'm more casual in writing to them, would anyone suggest this?

Srinivas Rao
Srinivas Rao

Rich, I'm glad you put this up. I have so many friends who are in bschool who spend hours perfecting cover letters to submit into the black hole (aka automated systems) and never hear anything back. As you know from our chats, I'm all about maximum return on the least effort and efficiency rules for me. I plan on sharing this with people next week when I give my speech at my alma mater.

Vinay
Vinay

I rarely read a cover letter... - I read one when you have a perfect CV but some type of restriction - like your not in my country then hopefully the cover letter will explain any relocation plans. - I read it if the resume is amazingly bad just for kicks - I read it if the subject of the email entices me to (ie - I was recommended to you by XYZ person I trust) I HATE cover letters as attachments. Generally cover letters are time wasters. If you are not offering value in your cover letter, dont include one.

NextJenHR
NextJenHR

I work in HR...though I started as an agency recruiter. I much prefer a cover letter in the e-mail. If there are two attachments, I open the resume first. If the cover letter is in the e-mail, then I will scan it - basically looking to see if the candidate says anything worthwhile and if not, then to make sure they don't say anything ridiculous. Why bother with a cover letter if you can't tell me why you are qualified for this specific job at this specific company? Tell me something I can't get from your resume. Those cover letters are the ones I do read! Those people are the ones who understand the need for the position and what value they can offer.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Alex - Not a bad tactic to put the resume in there as well, it's just harder to submit into the applicant tracking system that way, which is where 90% of resumes go, even when someone isn't qualified. I feel this adds an extra step for the recruiter, which the job seeker shouldn't try to add on. Interesting you've tried both. There is no one way of getting a job, right? There's also no one way to hire, so you'll see companies do different, and like different things. Very cool that you've tried both. Honestly, I'm not too sure. I'd say it's probably 50/50 with recruiters who are for or against cover letters, and i'd say 60-70% of recruiters would prefer to have a cover letter pasted in the email. Hope that helps!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Lindsay - It's frustrating, but standard. My suggestion is to keep a short, cover letter that you can tweak around. If possible, submitting it by email is always best, but automated systems get in the way. In that case, send as they say, or try to network into the influential person. Thanks for the comment!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Kate - Not sure how this was lost in the crowd, but I'd like to get back to you now. Apologize for this. My opinion is different than many. The hiring managers may read them, but the recruiters probably wont'. Too many resumes coming in. Try the personal touch that you've discussed and walk in, but you might not always catch the person you want to meet. It may turn into just a resume hand off at the front desk. Toss your CL in the body of the email, and keep it short. If it doesn't look like a cover letter, they will read it. Keep it to 2-3 short paragraphs and if you put that in the body of the email, it might get read. Thanks for your comment, and again, sorry for the response time.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hi Casey - thanks for your comment on this. I don't call it lazy, it is just a lot to read. If 10 resumes are received, only the most qualified folks should receive the additional review of the resume. It cuts down hiring time, which is what it is all about.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Jonathan - thanks for your comment and for making me feel better about LX! ha, yes I agree with you, he was just frustrated. I didn't take it to heart. It was just interesting to find that sort of criticism in the post.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Monica - Thanks for your comments and questions. There definitely is no alternative, and it sure does suck. There have been many occasions where I received a resume and no cover letter, and I was more than OK with it. I've hired people that didn't send a cover letter. I'm one recruiter, others have their own opinion. The reason people still continue to ask for them, is because many people are stuck in tradition. People often fail to look for efficiency and value, and stick with what they believe works. Also, since opinion on cover letter effectiveness varies so much, it is hard to change the overall perspective on them. I believe that in 8-10 years (maybe sooner), resumes/cover letters as they are used today may be completely wiped out, and replaced with online resumes like Linkedin. This will make it easier for both job seeker and recruiter to pass and review information in my opinion. I don't think they are outdated. There still are many people that do read them, and certain jobs in which they make sense. I think the problem is that there are so many job seekers sending in resumes/cover letters, and less recruiters to screen them all. This may change in a few years when things level out, but I really do believe the game will change in 8-10 years altogether, if not much sooner.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Krista - Glad to have your comments on this and perspective. It sure is different for each industry, and in a niche like yours it can be pretty helpful. I think people should always include a cover letter, but I just feel many people don't read them. NOT including a cover letter seems weird these days, and just because it won't be read, that doesn't mean to by pass that part.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Teresa - thanks again for your thoughts! The twitter message was purely to generate some thoughts on this. And let's be honest - his frustration was more than just a bit of frustration. It wasn't done in a tasteful manner, and I respect everyones opinion, but be fair about it. I hope he contacts me by email so we can talk offline and I can see if I can help any further. Companies KNOW that candidates are judging the company on the hiring process believe me on this. We know that, and some recruiters/HR do a better job than others in thinking of their candidates. I've tweaked around hiring processes with candidates in mind, but at the end of the day, some candidates are just high maintenance no matter what they want to believe. Sometimes, you just aren't a fit, and they can't deal with it. What is also hard to understand is how busy the one or two recruiter is, now that 4-5 of their colleagues were terminated. They may be trying their hardest to be clear, but because of increased responsibilities it is tougher. I know that I've always made sure to be clear in descriptions and application guidelines, but I can't speak for everyone. I don't know anyone who takes the "beggars can't be choosers" stance, but I can understand how that can be insulting to a candidate. This post was simply to show that cover letters many times aren't read. It is clear cut advice, and I'm giving honest advice on how to have it read. The body of the e-mail is proving to be one of the #1 methods of inserting it into the process. Nothing about my post was condescending, and it does bother me that lx took it that way, because that was not the message here. You my friend, are far from high maintenance, but I can tell that lx is pushing closer to that line. High maintenance candidates turn into high maintenance employees, and usually believe they are the #1 candidate. Most times, that is far from the truth and them calling everyday and emailing everyday just pushes them further away from the job. Both sides are struggling now, and recruiters need to stay detailed in what they request. I agree with you 100% on that. Job seekers need to make it easy to be reviewable, that is the bottom line.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Kelly - glad you stopped by and left your comments. Now more than ever, job seekers need to have the upper hand. They need to find ways to make it easy to be found, but also to be reviewed. I totally get lx's point, but he has the wrong attitude. He should be asking me questions in a respectable way, not getting fussy. He needs to make it easier, not harder, and his approach to my post shows me his attitude is all wrong.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Tammy - great response, love your comment. Definitely agree with you on resumes in the email. Always send those as an attachment, just not the cover letter. Mr. LX is in a rough spot and I understand his frustration. What he doesn't see is the other side of the fence, and he only sees his story. We need to find the quickest, most effective way to find talent, and reading a lengthy, sometimes boring cover letter isn't the way.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Thanks, Andrew! I will definitely click links if it is going to a portfolio, blog, or extended resume. I'm glad you do this. IF the resume shows you are a valid candidate, I will dig deeper Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hello Mr. Anonymous LX - I welcome you to Corn On The Job, my HR, Employment, Recruiting, and job search Blog - not column. I sincerely apologize if you take this piece of advice as condescending. That was clearly not my intention, and I do feel bad if that is how you have taken it. With that said, this is my brutally honest advice, without fluff, and from a straight shooting recruiter. Do you know how many people are qualified and willing to work? Do you know how many of those qualified and ready/willing to work individuals are applying to jobs/companies where recruiting staff has been cut? The answer is millions. You are not the only person out there that is qualified and willing to work. In 2008 there may have been 5 qualified candidates applying to a specific position, and now there are 15 of them. This great increase, along with a reduced recruiting staff has created chaos. I understand how that impacts folks like you, but you need to see both sides. I am giving my honest advice on what is most likely happening after your submittal. While your well-written cover letter is appreciated it might not be read. Recruiters ALWAYS expect to open up the attached resume in the formats you so kindly provided, but we don't go straight to the cover letter. This is why I have provided relevant and helpful advice on how you can almost make sure your cover letter is read. Place your cover letter in the body of the e-mail and you'll be surprised at how many recruiters will actually read it. Again, I apologize if you took this the wrong way, but clearly you are frustrated in your job search, and I would love to help in any way I can. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your frustrations. Feel free to contact me by e-mail if you have additional comments or frustrations. I would be more than happy to talk and hear additional suggestions.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey David - thanks for adding in your two cents. We are definitely coming from different approaches, and it is important to grab as many perspectives on this as possible, so I am glad you have joined in! I like your advice on adding it as the first page on the resume, and also in the body of the email. If the recruiter reads it in the body of the e-mail, they can skip over it on the resume. This is also much different for executives. Where I am coming from, just attaching it to one section (email or resume) would be enough. Obviously, people differ in opinions on this, and I clearly wasn't saying that every recruiter avoids them. I'm just giving my honest opinion without any fluff, and I hope that everyone always writes out a thoughtful, and well researched cover letter to each company. However, I do feel that with so many candidates out there today struggling to find work, many recruiters are just way too busy to find time to read both. I do read them, but it is rare. Thanks, David. Hope to see you around here more often.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Teresa - thanks for adding in your thoughts and also your frustrations. Job hunting isn't fun. It's not fun for anyone. The job seeker, recruiter, or even the company. It takes time, and each company has their own process. Recruiters, or the folks responsible for hiring need to be specific in what they want, I totally agree with you on this. If they don't tell you what is needed, how will you ever know what to send. This makes a candidate send EVERYTHING, which most times, no one wants.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Scott - Great point, while the cover letter should be in the body of the e-mail, make sure it is a few paragraphs, and not a book. If they ask for a cover letter, definitely add the attachment. If not, then keep the body of the email as the cover letter. Recruiters read hundreds of resumes, emails, and cover letters a week. They will know what you are trying to do, and will appreciate it. Be careful with the something crazy. As long as its interesting, and still job related it can help.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Ryan - I can't tell if you and I are similar or different when it comes to things like this. Maybe I'll figure that out over time as we continue to write and read each others work. One thing I know for sure that we will agree on - LOST and Dexter

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey JD - both! Both of those will get me to read and share. The totally off-base stuff is always funny, and some quirky funny stuffy is good sometimes too.

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Lindsey - we aren't too evil, I promise! Yes, keep it in the body of the email, then you are most likely going to have it read, or part of it

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Jen - Don't spend a lot of time, but make sure it still provides value. 3 paragraphs is enough. One paragraph on why you want that particular job and company, one on your skill set, and one on why you are a good fit. Make sure it goes in the body of the e-mail. Casual is ok, but stay professional!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Srini - Wasted time is awful. Cover letters are essential, only because the opinion on them varies. Sounds pretty exciting about speaking at your alma mater. Should be a great experience!

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

Hey Vinay - Glad to see you over here on COTJ! I agree on every point. I think they are time wasters, of course unless maybe they are entertaining, or if they were requested specifically

Rich DeMatteo
Rich DeMatteo

I definitely love the cover letter in the e-mail. It really is a great way to force me into reading it. Thanks for providing your thoughts on this too!

Alex
Alex

Life is all about adjustments. That's how I approach the job search. You can get an idea of what the employer wants by the nature of their job solicitation.

Casey Looney
Casey Looney

I was referring to LX calling it lazy... I agree with you.

Wyn
Wyn

I think the real issue is that applicants often feel lost trying to divine what an employer wants when writing a cover letter, and this is especially difficult if the applicant doesn't know much about the organization or the employees. I don't think this is something that can't really be avoided with online applications. I know there have been many times where I couldn't produce anything but the standard generic cover letter for a position after scrounging the org's web site for helpful info (vision, mission statements), ect. Generic company info will result in generic cover letters. If you can write that killer cover letter that will put you ahead, I think you should, but if all you can do is spit out a generic one...is that really helping anyone?