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Are Cover Letters Passé?

To write or not to write a cover letter—a long-standing question on the minds of job seekers. Enter the new millennium with Web and Job Search 2.0. It’s no longer “Should I or Shouldn’t I” according to the opinions of a split group of career and recruiting professionals. All opinions, please exit “stage left” in this slowly recovering economy. 

One key overarching strategy now rules the job search process—that of differentiating yourself from the masses.

Standing out in today’s job market is more than having your resume professionally written, defining your personal brand, or taking a networking seminar (although these certainly help!). It’s about the whole package—how effectively you communicate your brand and demonstrate your ability to contribute to an organization. 

Don’t miss a key opportunity to convey these through your cover letter—leverage it to sell yourself further and enhance your marketability. 

In many consulting firms, for example, you’re quickly transferred to the rejection pile if you do not submit a cover letter with your resume. (Incidentally—this is also true for a thank-you letter, so never ignore this step.) These firms maintain stringent hiring criteria, as corporations are paying them for thought leadership and superior advisory services. Hence, while some recruiters, hiring managers, and headhunters will claim they do not read cover letters, those who do may dismiss your candidacy for lack of one. Why take this chance when you need every advantage in today’s job market?

Unless specifically asked not to do so, include a well-crafted cover letter with each resume tailored to the employer’s needs and job role. Try not to repeat “verbatim” what’s already included in your resume. Highlight your relevant accomplishments and abilities/skills to perform the job successfully in succinct bullet points. You’ll likely never regret doing so—but you very well may if you don’t!

By Betty Corrado for Work Her Way