So the cover letter is dead according to an article in Fast Company. The article cites a survey of 1,400 recruiters by Jobvite, a recruiting software provider. in which nearly two-thirds of recruiters say the cover letter is not an important factor when they review applications. 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.
The proliferation of applicant tracking systems (ATS) that don’t cater for cover letters, the sheer volume of applications received coupled with the pace at which companies need talent has meant reading hundreds of cover letters is a luxury recruiters can no longer afford.
Traditionally, the cover letter was the perfect place to personalise your pitch and highlight information that didn’t jump off the page but in its absence, applicants need to get creative and change the traditional resume format to serve their needs.
Rachel Bitte’s 4 things 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.
3. Highlight Accomplishments
In addition to your employment history and job descriptions, include bulleted points under each entry with critical elements that hiring managers are looking for. “What were your two or three major accomplishments?” asks Bitte. “What results did you get? Offer concrete data, such as, ‘I helped increase employee engagement by x percent.’ This richness makes a resume stand out in comparison to your peers.”
4. Provide your Social Media Handles
Hiring managers are looking at your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles, whether or not you include the links on your resume, says Bitte. It can be proactive to not only offer a link, but to be vigilant about what you’ve posted on these platforms because they give hiring managers a great deal of insight.
“What’s interesting is that companies aren’t judging your personality from your posts; they’re looking for a culture fit,” says Bitte. “Cover letters used to be the medium to figure that out, but that’s no longer the case. Today, social media can tell a hiring manager a lot more, and they’re using it to find the right fit.”