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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Featured Comment: Is The Value Of A Cover Letter Dead?

Do you agree or disagree with this readers insightful opinion? 

Boomers:Does Creating A Killer Resume Cover Letter Make A Difference?

The value of a cover letter is dead. Research shows that 90% of companies ignore them and 97% of decisions concerning a candidate's opportunity for an interview come from review of the resume only. Many organizations now use programs to scan resumes for key words. If those are not present the resume is immediately rejected. Most resumes are "tomb stones". They simply list activities and not specific, quantified accomplishments. Given that a listed position can attract many hundreds of responses, even if a candidate is well qualified, he or she is often missed as he or she is not in the 10 or so selected from the first submission. A typical cover letter simply repeats some of the content in the resume. If the only reason for a cover letter is to show a candidate's "interest in the role" it is assumed that the fact a candidate is first of all responding and secondly sending a resume only should be adequate evidence of interest. So professional reviewers ignore and go directly to the resume. If a cover letter is required for submission it should simply be a two sentence letter of transmittal.

Even if a resume is selected for review a job seeker has about 15 seconds at most to capture the interest of the reviewer. If the content in the top 30 to 40 percent of the first page does not grab the reviewer's attention, the resume is set aside.

This must include:
*contact information
*target position
*a strong "positioning", "branding" statement,
*9-11 clear and concise core competencies,
*4 or 5 one line relevant, quantified, bottom-line accomplishments
*16 to 20 soft assets(key skills)
*statement of education

The above must include the keywords considered most important based upon the target position and can be accomplished in the top one-third of the first page of a well constructed and strategically developed resume. Hiring managers are busy people and their only consideration should be how and this candidate help me address core challenges or take advantage of significant opportunities. A candidate should also understand that the challenges and opportunities addressed must be both those of the organization and the hiring manager.

It is also important to understand that by responding to ads in the highly competitive visible job market where less than 35% of jobs actually exist, despite having a strong resume, you are delaying your reemployment and may finally be forced to accept a position well below your level of competency and compensation. In today's job market use the advertised jobs as part of "business intelligence" to identify companies to target directly.

Posted by William Shambrook MBA PCM  

Easily Create Impact Full Cover Letters.

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