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Cover Letters: Don't Bother

Cover Letters: Don't Bother

Don't let this happen to you!

Kayla Baxter

Your achievements, though they may be impressive, are probably best saved for the interview.

If you think about the fact that the market is flooded with job candidates right now, and that a hiring manager’s eyes are probably bleeding from poorly written cover letters and resumes, you begin to see David Silverman’s point.

Wouldn’t a short, direct cover letter (if applicable) be a breath of fresh air?


Here’s the Takeaway:

Never say something in a 15-word sentence when a five-word sentence will do. You dilute your overall message when you use too many words, and run the risk of boring your reader. Shorter is sweeter. This goes for resumes, too!

Don’t go into superfluous detail. It makes sense to point out relevant information like how much money you saved your previous employer or that you have 10 years of solid experience, but leave out the part about how maypole dancing has made you a better administrative assistant. If you really want, you can talk about it in the interview.

Keep it relevant to your future boss. Google the person you think you would be reporting to, find their LinkedIn profile, but remember that what they care about is finding a fit for the open position. If you see that you come from similar backgrounds, that’s great, but save it for the interview. If you find out that your future boss also loves maypole dancing, feel free to bring it up in the interview, but keep your cover letter strictly business.

If you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything at all. I’m hesitant to say this, because I’m really attached to my own cover letter, but in the end I think David Silverman is right. In a flood of potential candidates, the best way to get noticed is usually the simplest. Be brief. Leave them wanting more.

I definitely learned something today. We could all use a little more simplification in our lives, and our future bosses are no exception.

In offering a succinct cover letter that gives an opinion (“My 5 years of experience with tech companies makes me ideal for this position”) and offers up ideas with backbone (“I saved B Company $1,000 a month, and I can implement similar strategies at your company”) tells your future boss that you’re the kind of employee who can offer solutions.

After all, isn’t that what an admin is for?

You can read David Silverman’s original blog post here.

More on Job Hunting

Will an “Inquiry Letter” Find You a Job?


15 Toughest Interview Questions (and Answers!)


The 40-Plus Career Reinvention Checklist



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