“HR Dave”‘s post about blanding up your cover letter (which we picked up here) generated a lot of discussion.
On Twitter, @arbharrisonjr said she agrees with the advice: “If I’m hiring, it’s because of short staffing & I don’t have time to read a CL,” she wrote. If the resume’s good, she’ll glance at the cover letter for “outrageous demands” (such as the time an applicant demanded an executive-level salary for an entry-level position.)
In the comments section, “Masaru” wrote that he’s never gotten a job interview with a company he’s written a cover letter for. “Major organizations have contacted me based on my Resume alone (for listings I’ve responded to that only say “Send Resume for consideration” and don’t mention a cover letter),” he says, adding that a company that asks for a “stellar cover letter” will likely end up wasting your time.
“These days a Cover Letter is redundant, your Social Media profile or Blog should be your Cover Letter,” he says.
Allison Green, who’s written extensively about cover letters at her Ask A Manager blog, chimed in, too. “Really, though, good hiring managers do read cover letters, believe me. (Although if you’re wildly unqualified, a great cover letter isn’t going to change that, so it’s not crazy to look at the resume first and not bother with the cover letter if the resume is totally unsuitable.)”
Finally, Gaspin himself replied with the following:
Don’t revamp your strategy based on what one person says. Lord knows that “experts” in this field are a dime a dozen, and most of them are more qualified than I am.I’m only speaking from experience – the cover letter doesn’t get a read unless the resume is amazing and I want to see more from the candidate, or the resume is borderline and I’m using the cover letter as a “second opinion” to sway me one way or the other, or it’s a position for which writing is requisite. The total of these situations still makes up a tiny minority of resumes I’ve received over the years. So absolutely take what I say with a grain of salt, as you should with anyone who claims to know anything about anything. A healthy dose of skepticism never hurt anyone.