Not receiving an interview despite a killer resume and a unique and powerful career background is always a cause for concern, prompting a need to reassess every aspect of a job search campaign. I participated in just such a process today, partnering with “John” in brainstorming reasons why he was simply receiving a perfunctory thank-you email after distributing dozens of applications for executive positions.
Half way through our checklist “John” confessed; he’d breached job-search etiquette (although without understanding the impact of such an oversight) by failing to include a cover letter with his resume. Whether it was a lack of courtesy, or whether he simply didn’t have the experience these jobs needed, I guess neither of us will ever really know, but one thing is for sure–not sending a cover letter is akin to shooting yourself in the foot in job seeking terms.
What does a cover letter do?
- a cover letter begins a relationship; a hand-shake leading to a fruitful encounter
- a cover letter reinforces your interest in a particular position and notes the position reference number so that all information for that job is kept together.
- a cover letter refers to the key elements that the employer is requesting and then aligns that wish list with a real world set of skills that shows the employer you are the right person for the job.
- a cover letter summarises a few key points in the resume that reinforces something the reader may miss when scanning.
- a cover letter asks for a call to action. I want an interview, I will call you, you can contact me here. A critical point: you have the potential to do something for them, but they must do something for you first.
By neglecting to send a cover letter, you are ignoring a critical aspect of the job hunt. You are failing to personalise your application; failing to start a relationship with the recruiter or HR person in charge of the search. You are forwarding an email or clicking on a submit button and not even acknowledging that a human exists behind it negating their value in the process.
Who would want to be treated as a conduit of information and nothing more? I know I wouldn’t!
As Aretha Franklin said it’s all about R.E.S.P.E.C.T.:
Thank you for reviewing my experience. Thank you for taking the time to get to know me better, and most of all, thank you for considering me as a viable candidate to interview.
Have you been guilty of this breach of job-search etiquette? Think again. While the speed of distribution and transmission may be quicker these days, basic rules apply.
Employing people is a human business, relying on relationship-building, trust, and respect. Don’t neglect this crucial part of human interaction in moving your career forward.