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Cover Letters Probably Won't Help Those Conducting Already Ineffective Job Searches


Continuing our series excerpted from our new, free white paper, Cover Letter Reboot: A Crowdsourced Update of Traditional Cover-letter Advice for Today’s Job Search, which you can download here. If you prefer not to download, you can read the contents here. WhitePaperScreenshot.jpg The first post in this series described some readers who’ve written to us to claim that addressing cover letters to a named individual is an outdated idea. Harkening back to those readers … I agree with Adam Toporek, who notes: “Services such as CareerBuilder and Monster have made applying for jobs too easy.” If all you’re doing is sitting on your posterior submitting resumes and cover letters to postings on job boards, it’s probably true that addressing those submissions to a specific person won’t make much difference in whether you get an interview.

But that’s not how you should be conducting your job search anyway. You should be out there meeting people face-to-face and sometimes dropping their names in referral cover letters. You should be researching on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and company Websites not only to find out to whom to address your letters, but also so you can include your knowledge of these organizations in your cover letters. You should craft a long-range job-search strategy that might include sending well-researched cold-contact/prospecting cover letters.

Above all, you should take the time and care to craft (and proofread) well-written, high-quality, error-free cover letters that are customized for each position and show your personality and fit for that position. The hiring decision-makers I talked to want candidates who stand out from the pack. Your cover letter can help you do that if you put some thought and effort into it.

Want to know what kinds of letters made the hiring-decision-makers I talked to sit up and take notice? Read our sidebar, Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters. See also the other parts of the white paper/Cover Letter Reboot package: Cover Letter Wish List: Hiring Decision-Makers Reveal What They Want to See in Cover Letters, Hiring Decision-Makers Cite Top Cover-Letter Mistakes that Disqualify Job-Seekers, and Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters.