Recently I read an article by a recruiter who very straightforwardly acknowledged that she often receives unimpressive application materials from job-seekers. This is often a non-starter and the result is…Delete. Why? I would not hire someone who either isn’t willing, able or savvy enough to realize how important this first stage of the screening process is.
When I say “unimpressive”, I’m referring to more than just the resume and academics – I am including and focusing on the cover letter here because the cover letter, which is typically the first impression a reviewer gets, is either poorly written or there is none.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH? The increasing use of email vs. snail mail has resulted in fewer cover letters than ever. Frequently I receive email submissions with no cover letter – no introduction at all. Attached is a resume with no explanation why the applicant is considering a job change or what position they seek. Those that really make me shake my head address me as the employer, rather than a recruiter. They clearly don’t know where they are even sending their resume! Not only does it require extra effort on my part to obtain this necessary information, but their apparent lack of basic understanding about this process often leaves me feeling that the lack of attention to detail reflects a lack of professionalism…and that is a real turn-off. Alternatively, perhaps the candidate has so much self-confidence that he believes that resume speaks for itself, but this is a huge assumption to make.
MATCH YOUR SKILLS TO THE JOB: Stunningly, I get numerous resumes from applicants who aren’t even attorneys. Anyone with basic internet skills and has visited our web site knows that we only work with attorneys. This seems either lazy or desperate to me – and the resume is deleted. What a waste of precious time on both our parts! Wouldn’t they research an employer before an interview? Respect your own time, as well as mine.
RECRUITERS ARE THE “GATEKEEPERS”. Candidates must pass our scrutiny in order to get in front of our employer clients. If your cover letter and accompanying materials don’t show thought, clarity, and relevant details at a glance, they just won’t make the cut. We want to help you get a job – that’s why we are in this business. Take the time to do a thorough and professional job if you truly expect to be taken seriously.