Those of you who have been reading Water Cooler Wisdom for a while know how I feel about official cover letters. Basically, I think they’re a waste, because if you aren’t submitting your resume to someone you know well enough to include a more informal e-mail instead, you’re probably just going to end up in the black hole that is the general HR inbox. However, my new friend Charlotte Weeks, who runs Weeks Resume Service, has some alternative thoughts on the matter. Says Charlotte:
A surprisingly effective way of job hunting is sending a resume cold to companies that haven't posted ads. In this case, a letter of introduction (aka the cover letter), is vital. And even if you have a connection, a cover letter may still be necessary. Why? Often, the person who refers you isn't the decision maker. Writing the letter and mentioning the contact is an added way of getting noticed.
In all situations,
the cover letter provides an opportunity to sell yourself. It should compliment, but not replace the
resume. The cover letter can be a good place to put information that doesn't
necessarily fit on a resume (relocation issues, willingness to travel,
immigration status, etc.). It's also
less business-like than a resume, and some people feel it's a way to know the
candidate on a personal level." HR pros, what do you think?