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Cover Letters Are Dead: Do This Instead

Source | FastCompany : By STEPHANIE VOZZA

In fact, the cover letter is quickly becoming a dinosaur when it comes to hiring, says Jobvite chief people officer Rachel Bitte, and its demise is due to three things: speed, technology, and volume.

“Most companies today recruit online and receive applications through software systems that often don’t include a section for a cover letter,” she says. “Some industries, particularly those in Silicon Valley, receive a large amount of applications. The pace at which companies need talent has also grown exponentially, so finding the right person quickly is very important.

“Recruiters who get cover letters say they ignore them. Instead, they want to get to the meat of someone’s background by diving into the resume.”

Unfortunately, the cover letter used to be the perfect place to personalize your pitch and highlight information that doesn’t shine on a bulleted job history. To stand out now, applicants need to get creative and change the traditional resume format to serve their needs.

Bitte says there are four things you can do on your resume to make up for the loss of the letter:

1. ADD A SUMMARY

One way to provide more details is to include a summary. Located at the top of the resume, it’s made up of two or three sentences that highlight what makes you different from other applicants. Similar to an elevator pitch, it’s where you share a high-level competency, niche, or career focus. The summary replaces the “objective” that was once a popular component of a resume.

2. INCLUDE PERSONAL INFORMATION

Applicants are also including personal interests in their resumes, says Bitte. Added to the bottom of the resume, it gives hiring managers a sense of the candidate’s personality before they call them in for an initial interview. You can include hobbies, volunteer activities, or relevant club memberships. If you are applying to a company with offices in more than one area, you might also point out if you are willing to relocate.

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