Online ApplicationsPosted: June 26, 2012
Job hunting over the last fifteen to twenty years has changed dramatically, as has many other things in the world, because of the internet. Today, it is easy to shoot off your resume to apply for a job that you found online. Unfortunately, people still do poorly when applying. Consider this recent comment from a friend who posted a preschool teaching position:
Just a note of advice to anyone who sends their resume out via email to apply for a job. Sending me a blank email, without a greeting, or an expression of interest in the job or a statement letting me know that you know what you are even applying for, with only an attachment entitled “resume”, doesn’t convince me that you are the right person for the job. Especially when the job post specifically requests a cover letter, resume and references.
Her comment brings up two great points when applying online for a job: first, always include a cover letter; and second, always follow directions.
Weather it is a newspaper ad with an email address, or an application through a major (or minor) job search board, you should still include a well-written cover letter along with your resume. I once heard a statistic that employers are split evenly among the following groups:
- a third read the resume before cover letter
- a third read the cover letter before resume
- a third never read cover letter
So, unless you plan to call each employer to find out which third they fall into, it is best to include a well-written cover letter in your application. What should the cover letter include? The position you are applying for and how you heard about the position, what you will bring to the employer, and what next action you will take. After that, simply send the letter along with your resume and you should be good to go until it is time to follow-up.
The other lesson from my friend’s comment is to always follow the directions. If you are unable to submit the materials requested in a job posting, you are simply telling the employer that you will not follow the directions once hired as well. So why waste your time applying? In recent searches I have conducted, if the applicant did not follow the application instructions by providing a cover letter, resume, and three professional references, I did not take the time to read what they did send. Cruel? Probably. But it saved me a lot of time not reading materials from uninterested applicants.
Before closing, I must confess that I have applied for positions without following this advice. In all those cases, I did not even get a call back, so I know that not doing these things does not get you a job. Hopefully, you can learn from other’s mistakes and from the advice of hiring managers.
What is more difficult for you, creating the resume or the cover letter? Why?