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Resumes and Cover Letters Belong Together

Dec 22, 2007
Even if the recipient knows who you are and sees that your package was sent by you because of the return address label, they are bound to wonder why you are sending the package unless it is your birthday.

Taking the scenario a bit farther, suppose you were a company sending them a package as a marketing tool. Without a message included in a card or in a promotional letter, they would be confused.

Now pretend that you are a HR Manager in a busy Human Resource Department of a large product distribution company that has over 15 divisions on a large complex divided between four buildings.

This company is always growing, has many different types of job openings, a fabulous website, and is constantly advertising for new talent. As you can imagine, the resumes that pour in by email, postal mail, and fax is overwhelming to say the least. Screening these resumes is a full time job in itself!

Now, a resume is faxed over without a cover letter. It is very impressive. The person has fifteen years of well-rounded experience that includes five strong positions in the areas of sales, customer service, billing and collections, events coordinator, and computer trainer. Wow, they can do almost anything! But what position are they looking for and why are they contacting the company?

The company has many openings, so they are not sure what position this job seeker is applying for. The manager wonders if the job seeker is exploring their options (cold-calling) or answering an advertised job vacancy (ad response). Since they ran several ads, they are still confused.

There is no objective at the top of the resume because the job seeker did not want to lock himself or herself in to one position and there is no accompanying cover letter! Without the cover letter, the result is the same as a job seeker showing up unexpectedly for a job interview.

There are just too many unanswered questions. How can we help you? Were you scheduled for an interview with someone? In the event that the hiring manager were gracious enough to make your trip worth your while, and hopefully their while too, they still have to wonder what position are you interested in and what you have done to qualify for the position.

Unfortunately, in the case where you are not standing in front of them to answer all of these unanswered questions, the resume is going end up in the trash. A busy company just does not have the time to call a job seeker to ask them what position they are interested in with their company. Nor do they have time to figure it out.

The only time it is acceptable to send a resume without a cover letter is when the company indicates to send the resumes only in their advertisement. Otherwise, it is best to send a cover letter even when it is not specified to send one. Remember, the cover letter needs the resume and the resume needs the cover letter. Together they are truly a dynamic duo! It is your first impression. Make it count!
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