Why Resumes and Cover Letters Still Matter


Some people think that in this high-tech day and age that resumes and cover letters are no longer necessary.  I believe they not only still have a place, but are important.

Why?

Doesn’t a LinkedIn profile tell you everything you need to know? Aren’t these pages relics of an old way of hiring that is becoming obsolete?  Can’t social networks serve the purpose that resumes and cover letters did?

Barbara Hart, a hiring consultant who runs Hire Well, says maybe – but insists on getting a cover letter and resume from every job candidate who wants to go through her. Here’s why:

  • Too Much Information: LinkedIn is the social network for business people but it still has information she doesn’t need. In fact some of what it reveals cannot be legally considered for hiring.
  • Hard to Compare: Social media profiles aren’t standard enough to compare candidates. Resumes and cover letters are boring in that way. But boring and standard allow comparison between candidates.
  • Not All Employers Are That Savvy: It may be 2010, but some human resource departments just still want to do it the way they always have done it. They’re the ones with the job that you want. Do you really want to tell them they’re doing it wrong?
  • Not Print-Friendly: Have you tried to print your LinkedIn profile? Human resources wants to print or copy your resume and pass it around to hiring managers. Even if you save it as an electronic document and e-mail it, it’s print ready for them.

When it comes down to it, who’s life are you trying to make easier? Yours or the hiring manager? Trust me, hiring managers like employees who are trying to make their lives easier.


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Carl Natale is a freelance blogger who writes about tips and advice for small businesses. He runs the site Expensiccino.com - a site about how top brands set their prices.

Discussion

  1. Nick Campbell on the 8th July

    Resumes are a great way to get a mediocre job you hate. Go ahead and submit your resume and stand in line with the same piece of paper that everyone else has? No way. 10 years experience eh? Who gives a crap. It’s only your work that matters.

    Besides, do you really want a job with a place that is looking though a list of resumes to find an employee? Don’t you want to be hired because you do great work instead?

    Sure, resumes still work for mindless button pushing and paper filing jobs, but if you really want to “Work Awesome” throw away that resume.

    • Angela on the 9th July

      My thoughts exactly, Nick!

    • Nathan Nash on the 9th July

      Not every place that requires a resume is how you describe them. A lot of the places I want to work at after I graduate require resumes, and they are all pretty awesome companies, both in terms of employee culture and their projects. It may however be different for creative companies that require both a resume and a portfolio.

    • Kris on the 12th July

      I think unless your last name is Rand, Ogilvy, or Burnett among several others, you’ll probably need to send a resume.

      If only we could all drink some of Nick’s formula that employers will consider none other than us.

  2. Michael Kieloch on the 8th July

    The tailored cover letter and resume also shows that you’re interested (and smart) enough to spend some time preparing your best application for the job. If you can’t be bothered to spend a few hours researching the position and company, tailoring your resume, writing a cover letter, then why should the company bother spend their time considering or interviewing you?

    Nothing says “*I* don’t even know if I’m a good fit for this job” and “I don’t really care about this opportunity that much” better than a blasted, generic resume or being pointed to a one-size-fits-all public LinkedIn profile.

  3. Illz on the 8th July

    I thought this wasn’t even a question. Well for US jobs. It shows you really want the job. it is like saying do I wear casual or my best cloths for an interview

  4. Kyle on the 8th July

    Not for nothing, but Linkedin has a handy-dandy “Print this Profile” button along with a tool to convert to PDF.

    • Cover letter format on the 12th July

      I agree with your view Carl, resumes and cover letters that are brief and self-explanatory do matter even today. However, one can additionally create a web page displaying their resume and also make a Visual CV.

  5. Mohamed ElGohary on the 8th July

    Well actually the LinkedIn pdf is very print friendly and when I got my present job I just got my profile printed in the spot.

    It really depends on the employer if they are open-minded or not, and it depends on the job. Usually hi-tech jobs are better suited to what this post is against.

  6. Carl Natale on the 12th July

    I don’t know which is worse – the company that won’t hire you because you don’t have a traditional cover letter and resume or the job candidate who can’t be bothered to create a traditional cover letter and resume.

    • paul on the 3rd April

      well said,

      Ultimately, like most things in the modern business environment, we need a level of flexibility, and we should adjust ourselves to the situation, I’ve had interviews and been hired both on the strengths of a traditional resume and cover letter as well as on the back of an online profile.

      Some may appreciate the traditional approach, while others will actually look down at you for not immediately pointing them in the direction of your conveniently accessible online resume.

      With the traditional approach, I don’t think printing out a generic profile (like linkedin) is going to cut it, it certainly needs to be tailored, and with the digital approach I think we should certainly be displaying more of a portfolio – taking full advantage of all the online world has to offer.

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