U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment > Job Search
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-14-2013, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado
544 posts, read 1,381,349 times
Reputation: 605

Advertisements

My brain just drains trying to write cover letters. All of my experience is technical and I've worn many different "hats" in the technical arena. Help Desk, Desktop Support, Network Operations Support, Operations Support, Production.

I often need to write multiple cover letters depending on what kind of job I'm applying for and a lot of times I think they're just too long.

What are the best things to include in a cover letter? I kind of think they're like emails, if you write more than 5 sentences i.e., cut to the chase, you've lost your audience. Thoughts?
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-14-2013, 11:20 AM
 
7,380 posts, read 14,956,243 times
Reputation: 4972
i think talking about the variety of experience you have and how adaptable you are is a good place to start.

i DON'T think you have to keep the letter to 5 sentences - a few paragraphs is fine. although I do recommend putting the really important stuff in the beginning in case you get a hiring manager who doesn't read the whole letter. obviously every hiring manager is different and wants different things, so you can never write a cover letter (or resume) that's perfect for every single person it's submitted to.

i mostly followed alison green's advice for cover letters and resumes in my last job search and i got a huge number of interviews relative to the number of applications i submitted (and i was applying long distance so the odds were already against me). i actually had hiring managers specifically compliment me on my cover letter, or even say i was chosen for an interview because of something in my letter. so i feel like i can say with a lot of assurance that her advice is good as far as application materials go.

this is a good overview of her posts about resumes and cover letters: if you’re not getting interviews, read this

you will find a million different pieces of advice out there, and while some of them are outright wacky, even the wacky ones will work for someone. there's a poster here who is a hiring manager and says she makes hiring decisions based on applicants' zodiac signs. so, like, lying about your birth date in order to look like a taurus might work with her, but not with most people. you want to try for the most common managerial practices, not the weird outliers, so "i tried this weird thing once and it totally worked" or one hiring manager saying "this is what i look for" is not always going to be the best advice.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 11:31 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,643 posts, read 2,535,769 times
Reputation: 2979
I use the cover letter to show an employer what I can do for them, not what they can do for me and my career. My resume shows my career history and skills, but it doesn't spell out how I would be prepared to use those to the benefit of my potential employer, and I don't suspect a quick skim will show anything other than the blatantly obvious matches. If I want the employer to make the same connections between my skillset and their job that I have, then I'd better write that out. I usually try to hit the top 5 requirements in their job posting, and make a concise, bulleted list of how I am prepared to get their stuff done using my skillset.

Because yes - you want a job, but at the end of the day the employer has stuff that needs to get done, and you want to communicate that you are thinking of their needs and how you could help them, not how they could help you. The cover letter is a great place for this.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 11:40 AM
 
7,380 posts, read 14,956,243 times
Reputation: 4972
i think it doesn't hurt to briefly go into why you want to work at the place - this is especially important at nonprofits, but a lot of places want to make sure you're there because you want to be there and will therefore stick around. your cover letter should mostly be about how you will be an asset to the employer, but someone who's passionate about the work, is on a career trajectory where the job makes sense, and not just looking for a paycheck is an asset in itself.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Eureka CA
9,519 posts, read 13,426,654 times
Reputation: 14989
There are BOOKS of model cover letters if you need something to get your imagination going.

Last edited by eureka1; 10-14-2013 at 11:42 AM.. Reason: typo
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
16,290 posts, read 30,202,255 times
Reputation: 21833
Like a reume it is another tool that you can use to get a job. Realize that every person, meaning every hiring manager is differant. Maybe they see something in your cover letter that they missed in your resume. You are changing your resume around when you apply to a differant job aren't you? So easy to do this on the computer.

The deal is that everyone is looking for something differant and you can hilight what you have to offer them in the cover letter.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 03:01 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,427 posts, read 3,779,149 times
Reputation: 2285
if it makes you feel any better, when i was interviewing people, cover letters went straight into the trash. i preferred resumes without cover letters. why would i waste my time reading a bunch of BS, especially a bunch of BS that you could pay for someone else to write for you?

the resume tells me whether or not you are worth interviewing. that's all i'm looking to decide, and a cover letter doesn't tell me anything about this that a resume can't. in fact, it could only harm you - if you resume was good but your cover letter poorly written, i might not bother interviewing

what i did care about was a sample of prior work included with the resume
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,952 posts, read 21,570,820 times
Reputation: 7250
I hate 'em, too! Rarely read them when I used to screen resumes. I always went straight to the resume, and then made a pile of those that fit the job spec's. Once I had them sorted, I would then look over the paperwork in the potential pile, and that did include reading cover letters.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 05:21 PM
 
9,845 posts, read 21,323,608 times
Reputation: 7719
I've always hated cover letters myself because ultimately I don't think most people will read them.

I have a bio instead that is one paragraph and will write out a brief cover letter if requested.

Since I am self employed and always am out looking for one off jobs and longer contracts, some of the best luck and response I get is from a 3 minute video I made of my capabilities.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-14-2013, 05:38 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,427 posts, read 3,779,149 times
Reputation: 2285
Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
some of the best luck and response I get is from a 3 minute video I made of my capabilities.
wow. that's a great idea. if someone included a link to some sort of professional vid, and i liked it, they would instantly be at the head of the pack if i were hiring
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Work and Employment > Job Search
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top