It’s never that easy, is it? The answer is, unfortunately, somewhere in between.
Back in the days of mailing (or faxing) resumes in response to newspaper ads, cover letters offered a way to introduce yourself to an employer – Something that showcases communication skills and personality. In today’s connected culture, a simple Google search is all a hiring manager needs to see (sometimes) too much information about you.
It’s perfectly acceptable to send a stand alone resume, but if you think more is needed, you may want to add this extra touch.
A cover letter can still be used effectively; it’s simply not that one-size-fits-all form letter of yesterday. It can be anything from a few sentences of greeting when you email your resume, to a formal letter reminiscent of a more traditional letter. Anyway you look at it, a cover letter is now a dynamic document which needs to be specifically tailored to the job/employer in question – otherwise, don’t bother.
- Make it personal. Address it to the hiring manager (if name is available), or company name.
- Keep it brief. Never more than a page. Usually, a couple short paragraphs do the trick.
- Never include job history/information which is included in your resume. This is a supplemental document. Talk about what you bring to the table in less tangible areas than skills and stats.
- Try to relate what you’re conveying specifically to what you know about the position/employer
- Don’t oversell yourself. Today’s employers have finely tuned BS detectors. Keep it down to earth and on topic.
A Cover Letter can be a useful tool if you feel it suits the situation. Be yourself; Be original; Be brief.