By Nicole Wray, Originally Published on Talentegg.com
Do you need to send a cover letter? The answer to this question may vary depending on the industry or company you are applying to, but for recent graduates and students the answer should always be “yes.”
Although some employers may not take the time to read cover letters – “a lot say they don’t read them at all” – recent grads should always include a cover letter, unless otherwise specified, says Stacey Campbell, a career consultant at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Employers receive many applications to choose from. Although your cover letter might not be read, not including a cover letter is an easy way land your resumé in the trash.
The conventional cover letter is still a necessary job search tool, but as job search methods are constantly evolving, conventional job search tools such as the resumé and cover letter are slowly changing as well.
The future of the cover letter
In some industries, employers are moving toward asking applicants to provide a cover letter that is “structured around a unique question provided by the employer,” Campbell says.
For example: What goals do you hope to accomplish in the next five years? Why are you interested in the culture of this company? How do you see yourself fitting into the work environment of this company?
Some employers (especially in the creative media or marketing type industry) may even ask you to provide a review of their product, or a competitor’s product.
For example: Provide a 100-word review of two advertisements (commercials, magazine articles, websites, etc.) you have recently seen.
I think more practical, assignment-like cover letters are a great idea. Although it’s more work for the applicant, a question-based cover letter ensures only serious applicants apply. Specific question-based cover letters also give students and recent grads with limited work experience the chance to show a potential employer they are right for the job.
Have you had an experience with a question-based cover letter?
Originally published on Talentegg.com, on December 2, 2009