Cover Letters and Resumes for the Digital AgeMay 6th, 2013 | Articles, Job Search, Resume | 1 Comment »
So you’ve finished tailoring your cover letter to a particular company and position and now you are ready to email it to a potential employer, but you’re not exactly sure how to go about it. It isn’t like folding a piece of paper in thirds and stamping an envelope. The digital age may have changed how we send resumes, but there are still guidelines that you can follow to help your chances at impressing a hiring manager in the digital age.
Fix your email address
It’s shocking how many people still make this mistake, so it must be said. Hiring managers will open resumes from Yourname@website.com. Resumes from BeerChugger@website.com will get your application sent to the trash. Keep your work and social life separate.
Put Your Cover Letter in plain sight
Resumes may require a very specific format, so attaching them to an email is almost necessary, but cover letters can and should be added straight into the body of your email. The typical hiring manger receives so many emails containing attached resumes and cover letters that they will most likely thank you for saving them one less thing to download and open. Is it really that important to have them read your cover letter in the form of a Word Document or a PDF? The cover letter should be the first thing a hiring managers sees when they open your email, so put it right where they can see it and spare them having to read “attached is my cover letter” dozens of times a day.
There are many so many arguments about the benefits and shortcomings of starting cover letters with Dear Sir or Madam, Dear Hiring Manager, To Whom It May Concern, Good Afternoon, or a multitude of other greetings. The only thing that is certain about all of them is that none of them are original. In fact, short of writing, “Yo, what’s up doc”, there is nothing you can say that will cause you to stand out, so save that for your body paragraphs.
What you can do, thanks to the Internet, is use the company website to find out who the hiring manager is. If you have trouble locating who will be opening your resume, try calling the company and asking. It’s worth it to address the hiring manager by their name as opposed to any generic greeting. Cover letters that begin with “To whom it may concern” are the equivalent of receiving mail from a credit card company that starts, “Dear Valued Customer,” and when was the last time you read the rest of one of those?
Link it up
Do you have a personal website or blog that contains your portfolio? Have you designed the interface or programmed the back end development of a specific company website? Why only tell hiring managers what you have done when you can show them. Insert clickable links into your cover letter that will allow hiring managers easy access to see firsthand what you have accomplished. This is the 21st century and the Internet allows easy access to everything. Simply adding a hyperlink that a hiring manager can click on to link them to examples of your work can make all the difference.
What not to do
While there are many things that can be done to get your cover letter the recognition it deserves, there are a few instances in which you can go too far and turn off hiring managers.
Don’t get cute with the font
Stick with a nice standard like times new roman or the equivalent. Now is not the time to use Snap ITC to stand out.
Don’t rely on spell check
Cause its knot always thee beast idea.
Don’t get too causal
Remember, you are applying to a job, not texting a friend. Save the emoticons, text abbreviations, and casual speech for chatting with your friends.
By Kevin Withers