A hot topic right now is cover letters and resumes, I get questions all the time about them. What type of resume should I have, what should I say in my cover letter, do I even need a cover letter? Personally, I’m not a fan of cover letters and objectives on resumes. I feel most people do not know how to write them and they don’t really tell me anything more. However, I have discussed this with other HR professionals and done some research. See, I do all that for you, to help you in your job hunting. Some hiring decision makers (HR and non-HR, recruiters, head hunters) feel that the cover letter gives them more insight into you as an applicant and employee. It helps them determine who will get a call back for an interview. Then there are some decision makers that say they never read them. They don’t have the time to sift through all the cover letters and resumes so they just read resumes.
I know, I know, you still don’t know what the best thing to do is. My suggestion is to create a cover letter. Customize it for that particular job and that company. Try to add things to the cover letter that the resume may not reflect, without being redundant. Let your cover letter tell the hiring person something interesting but nothing unprofessional or too personal. Having a cover letter increases your chances of being seen/heard/interviewed and that’s what you want. I have not found any instance of someone saying that they hate cover letters so much that they throw away resumes that have them. But I have read that they WILL throw away a resume that does not have a cover letter. Hey look, if the hiring person doesn’t like cover letters, they will put them to the side, but you will still be a candidate.
As for objectives, by and large take it off and replace it with a summary. A professional summary should tell the employer a brief history of your work experience. For instance, if you are looking for a customer service job, make your summary look something like this…
“(xx) years of experience in a call center environment”
“Excellent verbal and written communication skills”
“40-60 WPM”
“Prompt, dependable, reliable and professional”
Wrapping this thing up, use cover letters and summaries. It’s kind of subjective (which means it depends on who sees it) hiring managers, to use a quote from Forrest Gump, “is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get it”. Just remember you catch more fish with a wider net.