Author: Erin Moody, Human Resources Business Partner
One of the standard documents you have likely heard of adding along with your resume is a cover letter. Does the cover letter still hold weight with recruiters and managers? The truth is less than straight forward unfortunately.
It really depends on the individual doing the application reviews. Some applications still actually require them, so in that case you would need one to move forward in the process. Even the jobs that require cover letters do not guarantee that it will ever be read. Needless to say, the cover letter is not quite extinct though it is likely going to be soon.
Why Aren’t They Read?
Liz Ryan’s article on Forbes definitively states the cover letter is dead. By the time a company has a job opening, they have likely been overwhelmed for some time. It takes companies weeks or even months to get new job openings approved, particularly if it is a growth position. This means the recruiter and hiring manager likely don’t have a lot of extra time. Your resume or a recommendation is what has them considering you, not your cover letter.
A cover letter is likely not going to provide information to sway them one way or the other. In the interest of saving themselves some time, they will probably skip the cover letter. Or at best skim it. In a perfect world, most managers and recruiters would love to read everyone’s cover letter, but it just isn’t feasible in a lot of situations.
Another reason is the way some companies are changing the application process. In particular more of the cutting edge companies are asking more in depth screening questions in the application. Check out an application for the jobs at MeetEdgar. These types of questions will give them what they would want to know in your cover letter, making one irrelevant.
Erin Moody, Human Resources Business Partner