Discussion: May 4, 2010 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter
A reader asks:
I was recently laid off and I am applying for jobs online. The question I have is whether to include a cover letter or not? Do they really matter these days? I always feel silly saying things like, “I am motivated and enthusiastic, and would appreciate the opportunity to contribute to your firm’s success.” If I do need to include a cover letter, what do employers want to see that would make them look at the resume?
Resumes? Cover letters? What do hiring managers want to read? Does a cover letter buy you anything? I’ve got it… How about a cover letter without a resume? Save time… arouse curiosity?
Do you use a cover letter? Think it helps? What’s the magic — or is there none? Help this reader decide what to do next.
[Update May 18, 2010: Okay -- humor me. No cover letters. They're illegal now... What's a good alternative to get your message to the hiring manager that you can do the job profitably? No rationalizing... alternatives only, please! Let's do something new under the sun...]