I was wondering what you guys think of cover letters in the information age. I know you're always supposed to send a cover letter, but today most applications are done via email. I have been running into the problem of people telling me to "email them my resume." When I go to write the actual email I don't want it to be awkward so I type a small email message. The message is usually reiterated in my cover letter/resume that I've attached to the email. I was wondering if it would be professional to have the actual email "count" as the cover letter if you have the same basic information as you would in your cover letter and then attach the resume as a separate document. Any managers out there with insight? What to do the rest of you guys think?
"Athen's great experiment ended after less than two centuries, when, in 338 B.C., Philip of Macedon's forces invaded the city, inflicting on its inhabitants the eternal fate of the noble and enlightened: to be brutally crushed by the armed and dumb." -America (the book), A Citizen's guide to Democracy Inaction.
Dec 28, '04
I have done that -- let my e-mail "count" as the cover letter. I think it depends on the situation. If you are asked by someone to send your resume via e-mail, they should be OK with your e-mail serving as a cover letter. However, if there is any actual paper being sent, then I would include a more traditional cover letter.
Also, on-line applications are just fine for entry-level positions and some institutions that have well-developed on-line systems. However, I would never fail to follow-up on the on-line process with phone call and perhaps a letter. You never know who is on the other side of that on-line process and how your application is being handled unless you have personal contact with the person doing the hiring.
Thank you notes are also still a good idea.
Dec 28, '04
i'm not sure if this is what you are talking about, but i usually highlight my experience in the cover letter (or in your instance, opening statement). something like, "as you can see from my enclosed resume, i have a variety of experience in xyz setting". if you are a new grad, you could highlight anything special you did as a student, (like an externship) and use the 'cover letter' to go into further detail. your cover letter should serve as the 'this is why you should hire me' part of your resume.
i tend not to go into a lenghty description in my resume, as job descriptions such as "provided general patient care to blah blah blah..." tend to sound boring, or cookie cutter. i would save anything important, or different (as far as job duties and responsibilities) for the cover letter.
i agree that sending just a resume seems a little weird, as it does not say anything about 'you'. i would start the e-mail with a 'cover letter' type of paragraph, and follow it with the resume. you should also make mention of your availability (when you can start, and what shift, or pt or ft) at the end of the cover letter
Dec 28, '04
Personally, I do not think it wise to subsitute your e-mail for a cover letter. When in doubt, I think it best to err on the side of professionalism.
When asked to send my resume via e-mail, I always attach both a cover letter and resume. I keep the e-mail very brief with just a few lines such as: I enjoyed speaking with you today regarding my interest............Per your request, attached is my cover letter and resume. .......
All too often, e-mail formatting gets messed up and that would not look good for a cover letter.
Dec 28, '04
I agree with Ross1. In your email, you should thank the person for his/her time, let him/her know you enjoyed the meeting, and let him/her know that your cover letter and resume' are attached. ...and be sure to use SPELL CHECK
on your e-mails!!!!
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