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View Poll Results: How necessary is a cover letter?
Complete waste of time. 0 0%
Don't really need it, but it won't hurt. 1 3.85%
Depends on the company, so importance is 50/50. 8 30.77%
Necessary, you never know. 9 34.62%
Absolutely necessary! 8 30.77%
Voters: 26. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-09-2011, 06:17 PM
 
2,682 posts, read 4,245,268 times
Reputation: 1343

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Just wanted so see what people think of cover letters. I was job searching last summer and after hours of research, I came to the conclusion that a cover letter is absolutely necessary and there is a standard format. So I always submit a cover letter in this said format (3-paragraphs covering why you qualify for the position, significant achievement in the face of diversity and skills/education particular to the job).

I am now looking again and am wondering about the value of a cover letter. Most applications have to be done online that go to HR, I assume, does HR even care about a CL, or is it only the hiring manager that gets to read it? There are other sites where you apply and then it says "cover letter or note to recruiter." I'm thinking maybe just put important facts there. Like I have the necessary skills required such as A and B. I have accomplished XY and am particularly good at Z. Basically submit a "facts only" cover letter.

Then, sometimes you apply for a job where you are emailing the hiring manager directly. Obviously you should type a "cover letter" in the body of the email, but doesn't it really need to be the 3-paragraph standard, or is a few very direct lines better?

I'm curious because cover letters take a huge amount of time and I'm trying to figure out time vs. benefit here. I can apply to many more jobs without a well thoughtout cover letter but are these applications then automatically put in the trash?

(FYI, I am applying to general jobs in finance/accounting that mostly have the same job descriptions)
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:01 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
37,907 posts, read 68,617,260 times
Reputation: 44943
We accept applications only online, and the instructions are to include the cover letter and the resume in the same file to upload. The first step in reviewing is to see if people follow instructions. Some do just a cover letter, no resume, others just the resume.

A resume gives some detail on your qualifications and experience. The cover letter is your opportunity to show that you have researched the company and are enthusiastic about becoming a part of their team. It could make the difference when your resume is very close to another and one has to be eliminated from the interview process. Generally when we get 80-100 I will limit interviews to the best 10-15.
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:31 PM
 
2,682 posts, read 4,245,268 times
Reputation: 1343
The lack of responses actually say loads about my question
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:34 AM
 
Location: broke leftist craphole Illizuela
10,339 posts, read 16,039,524 times
Reputation: 20180
Mostly a waste of time. I usually just through something together that summarizes how my qualifications match the position and a few platitudes and that I am willing and able to relocate if the position is not local.

I read somewhere that a very small minority of HR people read cover letters. They are scanning resumes either electronically or quickly by eye.

http://www.recareered.com/blog/2010/...-cover-letter/

  • 97% of Hiring Managers/Recruiters/HR reps said they make interview decisions based on the resume, not cover letters
  • Just 10% of Hiring Managers/Recruiters/HR reps said they read cover letters
  • 70% of those who read cover letters also said that they still don’t give interviews to a candidate with a resume that didn’t meet criteria, even if the cover letter was awesome – most wouldn’t read the cover letter if the resume didn’t meet criteria
  • 33% of Hiring Managers/Recruiters/HR reps said they even get cover letters – so 66% couldn’t read them even if they wanted to
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:36 AM
 
2,682 posts, read 4,245,268 times
Reputation: 1343
Thanks MSchemist. I hope what you say is true. I am so sick of typing out these cover letters. I'm not in dyre need of a job at the moment and have sometime to look and try various things. For now, I'm going to do a to the point "cover letter". Basically state what skills or experience I have that match the job description.

I just takes so much time ugh!
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:39 AM
 
11,348 posts, read 20,715,549 times
Reputation: 23816
I believe our on-line format states a cover letter is optional. Most people don't do one. I don't think they are necessary for an entry level job.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:43 PM
 
2,682 posts, read 4,245,268 times
Reputation: 1343
I'm using LinkedIn to contact recruiters directly, that way I either get to communicate with them via email or phone before I send my application, then no cover letter required Seems to be working.
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Old 12-19-2012, 10:24 AM
 
2,845 posts, read 5,669,564 times
Reputation: 3729
You can always save a copy of your cover letter, then edit it to reflect each new job That way it's just a matter of some small edits

I have come to find cover letters ARE necessary nowadays, the last job I got, they said it was my cover letter that got me an interview, and I have been applying to this company for months, never heard a word, I finally applied for another job and put a cover letter AND my status on the company changed to "referred" - I almost died lol.

I think with this economy, cover letters are much more important than they used to be.

(Yes I know this is an old thread- but I'd rather post in here than start a new one)
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