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Do Cover Letters Matter in a Digital Age?
Friday, February 10, 2012

Where there's a resume there is surely to be to cover letter attached, as it should be. But times are changing and with it are everyday practices we've been so used to since, well, forever.

Cover letters are nice; they're every hiring manager's best friend because they offer an introduction and some supporting information to the resume. Imagine reading what seems like the same document hundreds of times, a cover letter makes understanding them that much easier.

But resumes aren't just limited to paper anymore thus allowing them to come in a variety of formats. With more companies using social networks to recruit candidates, profiles are starting to take over the role of cover letters. Companies are able to learn more about the
candidates through their social media sites better than what they choose to include in a cover letter.

That being so, are we now seeing the what is to become the slow death of cover letters? That's for you to judge but here are some reasons that some suggested as to why you may want to reconsider sending one and why you should continue the practice.

It's Still Relevant
The value of a cover letter rests on how it's executed. Done incorrectly, hiring managers may have preferred it have been left out to begin with. Depending on the type of job as well will play a factor into how essential it is to include one. Some tech companies don't care much for an introduction as they do for experience and qualifications in the field. That doesn't mean cover letters shouldn't be bothered with, just that they should be more to-the-point and brief. In this case the letter should be more of a functional summary of their experience pertaining to the position.

Sometimes, cover letters are more important for social media and tech job seekers where companies seek employees who are critical thinkers, well-rounded and whose knowledge isn't limited to tech jargon. Reflecting that in a resume is difficult to do. At the same time, if the first person who sees your resume (usually an HR manager) isn't familiar with all the computer programs and other tech related information on your resume, the cover letter gives it a personal touch that will speak to them.

You Are Your Cover Letter
Just like a resume, a cover letter represents who you not only a candidate but a person. A well-written cover letter can speak volumes for you and some hiring managers see it as a way to determine your qualifications and commitment to the job. Hiring managers like seeing customized letters because it shows that more thought and effort was put in and research was done as opposed to a generic letter being sent out to a mass of companies.

When a cover letter is a generic template that doesn't relate to any specific company it actually weakens it. They're lacking in interest and keep many hiring managers from reading them. They want something that speaks directly to them and draws them in. Knowing who you're talking to is much more impressive than sending something "to whom it may concern."

Some Tips to Keep in Mind

-Find someone, anyone who could refer you. One of the many reasons why networking is so important. Knowing someone in the business can open up more doors than trying to get in on your own.

-Strong, and well-constructed resumes might not even need a cover letter. Make sure to put the most focus and emphasis on this.

-Try to find something that you can use to connect with the recruiters. This is where research on the company and exploring social
networking sites come in.
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