Q: I just attended a conference. A career consultant who was one of the session speakers, strongly suggested we all create a standard cover letter to send with our resume? What are your thoughts?
A: Unless specifically asked to include a cover letter, I would not waste the time. Most executive recruiters, whether in-house or associated with a firm, face a lot of competition for their time. When you submit a resume, the first person to review your document is either a researcher, or one of the dreaded computer screening devices. They spend, on average, about 15 to 30 seconds quickly determining whether you meet a minimum threshold for consideration. If your resume does not reflect their targeted skills or experience, you will not be considered regardless of how clever your cover letter may be. Unless you are selected for screening, most search firm partners won’t even see your resume. It may not seem fair, but it is just a matter of time management.