So, what is a cover letter? A letter with additional detailed information about you, on why you are qualified for the job. You should include specific information on why you’re a strong match for the employer’s job requirements. It actually is a sales pitch of yourself and skills.A cover letter usually, accompanies your resume you send out. Possible employers use them as a way to screen you, and determine if they would like to interview you. Cover letter is from the 50s, it’s an old idea that has to be retired.
So if I match or not will be determined by a piece of paper? Yes and no! If you are not included in the next steps of the process, it will be why you failed to impress them with your cover letter, even if they never met you! On the other hand, if you are successful to the next stage and meet you, they might use your cover letter against you, like in the movies: “Everything you say will be used against you….” Even a spelling error might be your failure!
What you should write in a cover letter, and why it’s pointless
A cover letter is to highlight the qualifications you have for the job: Then why is the CV for? Why should’t I add more details into my CV? And by qualifications we mean what? Technical qualifications? Personality qualifications (team player open minded etc?)
Explain why you want to work for the specific company/organization: The answer is simple. I want to work because I have to make a living, put food on the table and pay the bills. If I were a millionaire I would have other priorities. Yes, yes, I know… We have to strive for excellence, to become better professionals and try to work for the best employers like Google, Microsoft etc. Well true, but are you sure that you really fit into their world? But in order to work for them, you would lie for sure!
Add well formed enthusiasm as a selling point: This is true. I have done it. And is the biggest lie you have to write! To be enthusiastic about what? About their code base that I haven’t seen, the colleagues and the managers I never met, the company’s culture that is completely unknown to me? If I have to be enthusiastic about the job description, the big salary (if there is one), the company’s name or the size, I will pass! What is the point of working for a big company and suffer cause of toxic people around you?
Behind the curtains
Are we completely sure that an HR manager, HR team member, recruiter spends time reading a CV and a cover letter of dozens or hundreds of candidates? I believe not! But I am sure that they use the cover letter as leverage to push candidates more. They don’t want the best ones, but the most obedient ones!
One thing I have never understood is that how a HR person/recruiter knows if the candidate writes the truth or lies in the cover letter? How do they verify that? Also, which are their priorities? How do they evaluate their candidates? What is their evaluation process? Do they have one? And if the do, you as a candidate should be aware of it!
The best way to know a candidate, and a candidate knows the company, is to meet and talk! It doesn’t matter if it via Skype or in person, but there has to be a meeting! Cause in the end what you actually hire, is a personality that has to work well with other personalities.
Enough with the recruiters and the HR circus
I respect every profession, from the simplest one the most complicated one, but under one basic criterion. To offer something to our every day life. HR and recruitment, as it is applied today, is a completely abuse to everybody and leads nowhere.
- What is the point a recruiter with no IT background at all, asking me IT questions?
- Who writes the job description? A technical person how probably knows their shit, or a recruiter?
- What is the point talking to a recruiter that works for a completely different company than the one I applied for? I will never see them again, but they decide my fate.
- Why can’t I just talk with the people I am going to work with? If they don’t have the time to do it at that moment, how can I be so sure they will spend time later to train me, if I am finally hired?
- How do I know the recruiter is really a professional who do know their job by qualifying the best (that they actually don’t know who they are) cover letters, and not the ones they like based on their personal taste?
Interviews in general suck today a lot! Cover letter is just part of the problem. Another problem is the online coding tests platforms. But this is for another day. In order the companies to find an efficient way screening the candidates, they ended up humiliating them by adding useless processes besides the interview itself.
I totally respect the interview and evaluation process when is done correctly, and by correctly I mean with respect to the candidate. I want to work for a company, that primary respects me as a person, and then as professional. I am not a soldier at a military campus training and being evaluated daily, and I don’t want to be scared at the same time, that if in the end of the day my results are poor, I am going to be kicked out.