Ahh, the Cover Letter. Oh, Mr. Cover Letter. How useless you are. Sorry, not sorry. But the Cover Letter is antiquated.

It is what we in Software Engineering and Project Management call, “Overcome by Events” (OBE) or “obsolete”.

The Cover Letter is completely outdated.

How important is a cover letter?

Yet here it is in 2020, and I still get so many questions about cover letters. My amazing friends, I wish the Cover Letter were dead and gone because honestly, it is rarely read. How do I know that? Empirical data. Because I myself have never read one. Also, because my friends have never read one in its entirety. And finally, that pesky thing called logic.

Do employers really care about cover letters?

Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. Yes, yes, I know. Cathryn, why do you keep doing that? Why can’t you just go right into tips? Why do you always make me think about stuff? Because knowing this stuff helps you think outside the box, and thus, helps you find jobs better, negotiate better, do everything better. 🙂 It’s all about gaining skills.

Why is someone hiring? Because they have more work than people. So, they are busy themselves trying to make up for the lack of labor and the fact that now they have to put in the time and effort to hire someone now, “Why on earth would they want to waste more time to read a cover letter?” Time is money. Reading a resume full of bulleted lists takes enough time. Reading a cover letter with paragraphs takes more time. To me, that’s redundant and wholly inefficient.

What is the purpose of cover letters?

These rules about cover letters and “one page resumes” are 100 years old.

The cover letter was invented to introduce yourself, interest your employer in you, and explain why you’re a good fit for the company you’re applying to. Why are you better than everyone else?

Plus, back in the 30s and 40s, do you know how people found jobs? Through newspaper want ads and they

applied by writing cover letters that “covered” their resume highlights and explained what job they were applying for. Since practically no one had a telephone, they snail-mailed these cover letters and resumes to companies.

BUT these rules have changed because of technology.

Fast forward to 2020, we have LinkedIn, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and online job postings. Do we really need the cover letter to explain what job we’re applying for and why we’re the best candidate? I think not.

What a cover letter should include?

So why do we still have to write Cover Letters? Short answer. I have no clue. Maybe people are creatures of habit? Regardless, if you must write a cover letter, you might as well nail it. 🙂 So here are my tips:

1) Tailor it to every job (queue sad violin, I know).

2) Incorporate their values, vision, and/or mission somehow into your writing and demonstrate examples of how you embody them. Do it very organically though. Do not force it into your writing.

3) Include examples of your “total individual professional value” i.e., quantified resume. Meaning how much you saved or made for your last companies. See the tip on Quantifying Your Resume and videos for specific examples on how to do this. 🙂

4) Add personal tidbits to showcase how you would be a good fit for their company culture.

Ok, below and attached is my personal cover letter. Stay connected with me — if you haven’t signed up, do it now, so you don’t miss future information.

For more valuable tips, don’t forget to check out the rest of them here and the videos. Stay connected with me for more career advice and more job alerts — subscribe to my newsletter below, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I want to see you succeed!!! 😎🤗💪🏆👍😉

If you had to submit a Cover Letter (ugh), the Cover Letter below was always very effective for me because it incorporates personal tidbits, a financial bottom line, a career highlight reel, and lots of examples of how you would make a good fit for the company. You make it easy for them to VISUALIZE you already working there.

Now, here’s the thing. The Hiring Manager may not read your Cover Letter, but on the off chance, that they do, they will LOVE this one. 🙂

My theory is that one day resumes and cover letters will be superseded by the online job profile like a LinkedIn profile.

And so, we won’t have to do any of this extra work. But until then, here you go. 🙂

Do the hard work for the Hiring Manager — make the connection between you and the position for them. Make them want to not just call you, but hire you.

<Insert Date>

<Insert Company Name>

<Insert Address>

Dear Sir or Madam,

[For the first intro paragraph, throw in 1-2 personal comments that FIT the position. Don’t force the personal factor into your cover letter. It should organically happen. As for me, I really do love learning and technology, and the fact that I’m a mom makes me more interested in the Education Technology (EduTech) industry that I’m trying to break into. Plus, adding the “tiger mom” stuff and the commute part shows my light-hearted side.]

I was delighted to find your job posting for the <Role>. As a Tiger Mom, I have been an avid learner and technophile since I can remember, and with a toddler who’s entering the “Thankless Threes”, I am very much interested in working for <Company Name> and appreciate living in the state that bred it. Plus, on a side note, I live literally one block from your <redacted> office, I could not ask for a better commute.

[For these bullets below, this is your highlight reel. Make sure you add up how much you made and saved for your last companies. Summarize all your achievements here. Take their company values and find in your career where you exemplified them.]

· With a rare combination of over 20 years in IT and over 10 years in Business Development, I bring the convergence of Technology and Business to <company name> – it makes me a great asset as a <role> for you, since I will really understand Go2Market strategies better than most IT folks.

· I have delivered $2-10M products/projects, at an average of 15-28% profit margin, with minimal delays, hitting on-time schedules. In my career lifetime, I have made and saved over $20M for Fortune 50 and 500 companies in both the private and public sectors.

· I have led the development of countless DoD and VA healthcare systems servicing 20+million unique patients, using the underlying .Net framework that drives your <the company’s technology> framework.

· Reliability, performance, scalability, extensibility, supportability, and power have and will always be a big deal in my world – those values don’t change crossing over to <the company’s name>. The needs of K-12 school districts are no different from the customers I’ve supported in the past – I address their needs with groomed and prioritized backlogs; well-defined personas; succinct stories with acceptance criteria and a clear definition of done; and finally, user acceptance testing, as I am the final approver of what is accepted for production readiness.

· Though I may not have direct EduTech experience, I have proven Product Development experience and I have worked in the Education environment, having worked at the <a well-known education institution> in the past.

· Furthermore, I am a quick study and incredibly innovative one at that – as you will see in my resume. I had ZERO experience in the Travel Technology world, yet I was able to quickly adapt and vastly evolve one company’s systems from Day 30 onward. Part of my process is my ability to immerse myself into the product – osmosis learning. You will see from my enclosed resume that I exceed all of these qualifications and more.

Having an experienced outsider like me enter your world increases divergent thought and reduces complacency. What new and forward-thinking ways could I help you MAKE or SAVE a great deal of money, as your <role>? Let’s find out – give me a call or text at <your cell phone number> or email me at <your email address>.

Thank you for taking the time to read my cover letter. I have never put so much thought into one, but the idea of working for <company name>, a leader in EduTech, and making a difference is sheer bliss for me.


<Your Name>

Enclosure(s): 1

For more valuable tips, don’t forget to check out the rest of them here and the videos. Stay connected with me for more career advice and more job alerts — subscribe to my newsletter below, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I want to see you succeed!!! 😎🤗💪🏆👍😉

Previous Next

Real Life Career Strategies

Sign up for exciting job news, free career advice, and exclusive tips! 🙌