Do I need a Cover Letter?

In the old days, a cover letter had to accompany a resume because the job postings were placed in newspapers and weeks might have gone by since it was published.

Now we apply for jobs that were posted 5 minutes ago. This is not an exaggeration   You can set up your resume and alerts with indeed.ca to be notified when jobs are posted and use your phone to apply on the fly.

So what about the cover letter?

First, follow the instructions. Many ads actually contain specific instructions on how to apply or what information to include. Pay attention to this. You may be eliminated from consideration if you don’t apply in the right way or provide the information requested, no matter how qualified you are.

Be really careful composing cover letters/emails on your phone. The auto correct is not kind and spelling mistakes are not easily forgiven.

If there is nothing in the posting, then you need to make your cover letter brief and specific. This is not the place for your life story.  Two or three details about how you are suited for the role and anything exceptional such your interest in relocating at your own expense or your recently completed MBA.

It should not be longer than one thumb scroll on a smartphone. That’s all the attention it will get. Your cover letter should be enough of a tease to get the reader to open your resume. That’s all it is.  A door opener. Keep this in mind and stop yourself from pouring your heart and soul into it.

Today, the cover letter is the equivalent of a digital handshake.  If yours is clear, strong and dry, it will do what it is supposed to do.

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Filed under career change, Job Search, Resume

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