If you find that you’re applying to internships or full-time positions, or for interview consideration through On-Campus Recruiting, but are not getting the response you seek, it might be that your resume is lonely! I don’t say this to be silly (resumes don’t really have feelings…although sometimes I imagine they do cringe under my ferocious editing pencil). Rather, I encourage you to more carefully consider the value of a well written and individualized cover letter as part of your search – and as a new BFF for your lonely resume.
By sending a resume, through a website, attached to an email, for OCR, without a cover letter, you are giving away your power – to demonstrate your excellent writing skills, to take ownership of how your resume is reviewed, and to persuade your recipient that YOU are the best candidate for the opportunity at hand. Like a boat without a rudder or a car without a GPS, your resume alone can lack obvious direction and easily get “lost” amongst the many applications a recruiter may receive in this competitive job market. This is especially true if you are applying to an opportunity not directly related to your major or your background – without a cover letter, how might your reader understand how someone with your skills, background and experience could be an ideal candidate, and not just dismiss you outright because you’re not the most obvious fit?
My advice? Don’t leave it up to your recipient to draw conclusions or make assumptions as to how you are the best candidate for the job. Take control and exercise your job seeking power – use the job description, company website, or any other resources you can find to help you understand the type of candidate the organization is seeking, and spend time carefully drafting a cover letter – or the body of an email, or even text to include in the “Miscellaneous Comments” box on the web application – to accompany your resume. Explain exactly how you are the person to add value to the firm and inspire your reader to contact you for more details, and hopefully an interview! Trust me, your resume will be much more impactful, productive – and thankful! – if you don’t send it out into the world alone.