May 13, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Quintessential Careers publishes cover letter white paper for job-seekers based on “crowdsourced” research conducted with hiring decision-makers. Key finding: cover letters are still valuable differentiators for job-seekers.
(QUINTESSENTIAL CAREERS: Kettle Falls, WA) — Although failing to include a cover letter with a resume submission is no longer the disqualifying factor it once was, submitting a high-quality cover letter with a resume can be a strong differentiator. That was a key finding in a new cover-letter study by Quintessential Careers, published in a free, downloadable white paper, Cover Letter Reboot: A Crowdsourced Update of Traditional Cover-letter Advice for Today’s Job Search (https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/cover-letter-white-paper.html).
Because recent studies suggest that somewhere between a third and half of hiring decision-makers do not read the letters, job-seekers are confused both about the need to send cover letters and the most effective techniques to employ in writing them, said Quintessential Careers’ Founder and Publisher Dr. Randall S. Hansen. Hansen has dispensed cover-letter advice, with his partner Dr. Katharine Hansen since the initial 1990 publication of their Dynamic Cover Letters (3rd edition, 2001), one of the first cover-letter books on the market.
“It was time to find out the extent to which our guidelines apply to the 21st-century job search,” Hansen explained.
These additional findings are included in the 13-page white paper:
- Addressing a cover letter to a specific person by name can be a big plus, and some employers expect job-seekers to do so.
- Tailoring a cover letter very specifically to the targeted job is still and always the way to go; the cover letter has no point if not specific.
- Although hiring decision-makers vary wildly in what they want to see in a cover letter, some common themes emerge. Employers want to see relevant accomplishments, fit with the job, understanding of the job, personality, enthusiasm, knowledge of the employer, and consistency with the resume (but not a rehash of the resume).
- Hiring decision-makers offer no consensus on how they want to receive cover letters (in the body of an e-mail message vs. as an attachment), so research on each employer’s preference is imperative.
- Prospecting/cold-contact cover letters will probably not yield fast results, but an excellent, well-researched letter that tells how the job-seeker can address an employer’s challenges can be a terrific investment in the future. This type of letter is used in an exploratory fashion to express an interest in working for a specific employer but not in response to a specific opening.
- A referral letter that mentions the name of a mutual contact of the job-seeker and the letter’s addressee will usually get the letter-writer’s foot in the door, but he or she must be qualified for the targeted position.
- Hiring decision-makers have mixed opinions about two-column or T-formation cover letters; the more important writing and communication skills are to the targeted job, the less effective this type of letter is likely to be. In the two-column or T-formation cover letter, the job-seeker quotes in the left-hand column specific qualifications that come right from the employer’s job posting and in the right-hand column, his or her attributes that meet those qualifications.
- Careful attention to detail can help job-seekers avoid the most common — and disqualifying — cover-letter mistakes. The white paper lists the cover-letter mistakes that hiring decision-makers say cause them to eliminate even qualified candidates.
The cover-letter study consisted of qualitative interviews in March and April 2011 with 20 hiring decision-makers who read and value cover letters.
The white paper, a first for Quintessential Careers, also includes “Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters” and “Cover Letter Wish List: Hiring Decision-Makers Reveal What They Want to See in Cover Letters.”
About Quintessential Careers: For 15 years, this comprehensive career development site has been empowering job-seekers of all ages find their ideal careers and jobs. With more than 4,500 pages of content — from articles, quizzes, and tutorials — Quintessential Careers offers visitors no-cost content that can improve their lives.
About Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.: Randall Hansen is the founder and publisher of Quintessential Careers. He has been involved in the career industry for more than 20 years.
Editorial Note: More background about Quintessential Careers can be found at https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/home.html.
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