The traditional world of applying to a job requires that we write a cover letter and tailored resume. That’s been the world we’ve been living in for some time now, and it’s only slowly starting to change.
What are cover letters?
A cover letter is the introduction of you to a potential hiring manager and/or employer. It is supposed to go beyond what your resume states and tell the reader why you believe you are qualified for the job you are applying too.
The traditional cover letter
The traditional cover letter is supposed to be submitted with each application. Beyond saying why you are qualified, it should state the experience you gained relevant to the requirements and why the company should hire you.
Most people confuse this as they believe the reason why you are qualified is the reason why they should hire you and because of this, cover letters have just become a mere extension of the resume. With the all cover letters that I’ve read in my recruiting days, the majority of them just regurgitate what the resume says. Explanations of blah blah job at blah blah company and how they worked on blah blah project. I get it; I understand that, I read that on your resume… tell me something different!
I say this because in today’s world of high unemployment, recruiters and hiring managers are seeing record numbers of people applying. Must recruiters won’t even go through and read cover letters because they feel they are waste of time, but the ones who do, don’t even learn anything extra about you.
This is where the traditional cover letter should be left by the wayside. With the introduction of social media and its swift induction into recruiting efforts, this has become the new cover letter.
When connecting with someone on LinkedIn, you have the chance to send them a personalized message. Most people send the generic, I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn. SNOOZE! Instead, try sending a catered message that highlights the real reason you would like to connect with them. In short, an actual brief cover letter. Just please don’t ask for a job! Read my article on flattery to understand what I’m saying here.
Another great way to connect with a potential hiring manager, however, buyer beware! This is an unsolicited e-mail and because of that, what you write needs to be spot-on. This is, again, your mini cover letter. You need to quickly state how you are qualified for the job and why they should consider you for an interview. Very doable and possible!
Similar to LinkedIn, but slightly different, you only get 140 characters to get your message across. With Twitter, you get the ability to speak directly to the person you want, but with limited text. Twitter is another great option to replace the cover letter and introduce yourself.
These are three viable options that you can use today to bypass the traditional cover letter. Ultimately, only HR cares about your cover letter. If you can speak directly to the hiring manager, you will have a better chance at landing the job and the way you do that is with the aforementioned ways. Give it a shot and see how it works.