· Cover letters are anachronisms
Cover letters are based on the idea that you can write an essay to explain how you’re the perfect choice for the position, and how it fits into your life/career plan. The truth is that in our current economic environment, fewer and fewer people have long-term career themes, and people increasingly desire their lives not to be defined by their career.
With this in mind, the idea of trying to convince an employer that the position is part of your life plan is a bit silly. People just need jobs to earn money, and preferably ones that don’t make them hate their lives. Unless the employer is completely delusional, they don’t expect you to dedicate your whole life to the position. There’s no need to try to convince them that you will.
Additionally, thanks to the internet, job postings can reach hundreds of thousands of people quickly, and there can easily be thousands of applications for a single job. Due to the sheer volume of applications, the chances of a cover letter being read by an HR or hiring manager are slim to none. They are far too busy doing their jobs to read the cover letters of all the applicants. Unless absolutely required for the application process, don’t waste your time.
· Resumes are just note cards, the format is irrelevant as long as it is neat and professional
Many services are available to help you have the best possible resume, and many people talk about resume writing strategies to basically optimize them for HR system SEO. The truth is that if you are applying for a position with enough applicants that SEO is a factor, then your chances of being considered are remote. It also means that the position is easily replaceable. You don’t want that job.
Resumes are just note cards with brief highlights of your job experience. As long as your resume is neat, professional, and clearly provides your contact info, it’s good enough. Don’t waste your time or money trying to tweak it for SEO.
A well put-together Linkedin profile and some in-person networking activities will do FAR more for your job seeking efforts.
· NEITHER a cover letter nor a resume will get you a job
Nobody is ever hired based solely on the merits of their cover letter and resume.
It is the relationship that you form during the interviewing process and how you present yourself and your skills and accomplishments that get you the job, not the resume format or cover letter explanation.
The sheer volume of applications made possible by technology highlights the fact that networking and relationship building are more important than ever.
· People naturally favor people they know
When people need to fill a position, the first thing they will do is ask themselves and their peers, “Is there anyone that we know that we would like to see in this position?”
Even if you’re just acquainted with the hiring manager or recruiter, you have a huge advantage over the sea of unknowns that are being considered (as long as your skill and ability are proficient for the position).
· The best jobs are always found through relationships, and are won with the same
The most important and most rewarding positions are never staffed from a cattle call of talents.
Even for the less-important mass-staffed positions that are, when the interviewing process reaches the actual in-person interview phase, the applicants with the best ability to present their past work history in a rich and easily accessible format (Linkedin) and the ability to quickly form a connection or rapport with the HR and hiring managers will have a huge advantage.
Networking and relationship building skills are what set applicants apart in these situations, so if you want an advantage over other applicants, don’t spend your time making a pretty resume.
Work on your presentation skills, your interviewing skills, your communication skills, and anything else that can help you actually form a relationship with the people involved in the process.
Remember, it’s not the company that’s choosing you for the job, it’s the people who are interviewing you that will decide if they believe that you can be a capable partner so that together you can both achieve mutual success.