Do hiring managers read cover letters? If you ask most job seekers today, they think not. That's because they apply online to dozens of jobs and never hear back. I've had more than a few job seekers tell me, "If the hiring manager read my cover letter, they'd know why I'm perfect for the job. I shared all my skills and successes." To which I say, "That's actually why you aren't getting called."
The Cover Letter Isn't About You - That's What Your Resume Is For
When a hiring manager opens a cover letter and sees within 6 seconds that it's just a boastful recap of your resume, they skip it. To them, it's a waste of time. Not only do they have to listen to you brag about yourself, but they can get the same info much faster on the resume. The result? They toss the cover letter, and move on to the resume. However, now they have a negative view of you as a candidate thanks to the self-promotional letter. They look at the resume with a more critical eye i.e. looking for ways to say, "NO, you aren't all that you say you are."
Cover Letters Are About First Impressions & Nobody Likes A Bragger
Now, you might think what I'm saying is crazy, but it's the truth. Hiring managers are human beings, just like you and me. And none of like to be over-sold. A great way to prove my point is to consider the last cover letter you sent off. Did it have things like, "I'm a highly successful professional who has exceed all expectations, etc." Imagine taking that cover letter and walking up to the hiring manager in person for the first time and reading it aloud to them. Would that be how you'd want to make a first impression? Of course not. We've been taught bragging when you initially meet someone isn't polite. And yet, that cover letter is the first meeting with the hiring manager. You are essentially doing the same thing!
Share Your Connection To The Mission, Product, Service, Customer Oe Work
The cover letter isn't about you, it's about how you feel connected to the employer. You need to explain why you respect and admire them as a business. Hiring managers want to hire people who understand why the company exists. They want you to share with them reasons why you'd fit into the company's culture. When you offer up stories of your personal or professional experiences and how they have shaped your desire to work there, you are helping the hiring manager feel more confident that you would fit in.
P.S. Get Them At "Hello" With Your Opening Statement
Every good story needs an opening headline to get the reader's attention. Start your cover letter with a sentence that's intriguing or counterintuitive to get the hiring manager's attention. Then, follow up with a compelling explanation that makes them think, "Wow, this person is really interesting!" At Work It Daily, we call this the Disruptive Cover Letter. The technique has helped our clients get hiring manager to call them and say, "that was the best cover letter I've ever read." Isn't that the kind of first impression you want to make?
The time you put into creating a disruptive cover letter and then proactively trying to get it directly in the hands of the hiring manager is worth it. Applying online with a boring, old-school cover letter is lazy and ineffective. Job seekers who want to stand out and get hired know they need to connect with the employer in an authentic and unique way. A Disruptive Cover Letter is the solution.