Is the cover letter dead?

  | Dave Landry

Do you remember the last time you applied for a job? It is likely that a cover letter accompanied your resume. Cover letters have been around for a while now; they are a good way to build a connection with your employer and to make you stand out from the competition.

But are recruiters still looking at cover letters? Some recruiters say yes, but most recruiters say cover letters are losing their importance. Research conducted by studied several employers and hiring managers from multiple industries. The study finds that recruiters are interested only in the candidate’s resume.

Another research conducted by TheLadders suggests that recruiters spend only 6 seconds on average to review an individual resume. This is too short a duration to look at the cover letter.

With the rapid rise in usage of social media, tools such as Skype, LinkedIn and Facebook have made it easier for recruiters to connect with the candidate, instead of relying on the cover letter.

How to make your resume stand out?

With the cover letter not adding the value it once used to, it boils down to your resume. Your resume has to be unique and should be able to impress your recruiter within seconds. Follow these guidelines to write a resume the recruiter can’t ignore:


1. Get your resume professionally written

By getting your resume professionally written, you bring the writer's experience into your job search. A professionally written resume is well formatted and has a visually appealing hierarchy. It includes the keywords that the recruiter is looking for and stands a better chance of getting picked.


2. Include a summary

Research shows that recruiters spend 80% of their time on your name, current and previous title/company, current and previous experiences and education. Include a short summary at the start of your resume that focuses on the above data points.


3. Focus on skills and accomplishments

Make sure your resume highlights your skills and how you’ve used them to accomplish goals at your previous assignments. State what you’ll bring to the table and how they’ll benefit by having you in their team.


4. Personalize your resume

A recruiter knows when you’re applying with a generic, one-for-all resume. This can quickly have your resume rejected. When writing your resume, try to personalize it by talking about the employer’s expectations and how you plan to accomplish them. This builds a connection with your recruiter and significantly improves your chances.


5. Use social media to improve your chances

Social media allows you to instantly connect with anyone; this also applies to your recruiter. Be sure to add your social media handles onto your resume so they can interact with you over a chat or video call. This helps you build a personal connect with your recruiter and improves your chances of getting hired.


If you’re just starting out or you’re already into your job search, your focus should be on what recruiters are interested in. A well-crafted resume that highlights your accomplishments and benefits of bringing you onboard will give you the needed advantage to get your dream job.

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