Cover Letters Still Play Valuable Role in Hiring Decisions, Survey Suggests



    UN'COVER' A NEW JOB

    TORONTO, June 26 /CNW/ - As the job application process increasingly
moves online, some job seekers might be tempted to think a formal cover letter
is no longer necessary - not so, a new survey shows. More than nine out of 10
(93 per cent) of executives polled said cover letters are valuable when
evaluating job candidates. Moreover, eighty-seven per cent of managers said it
is common to receive electronic resumes accompanied by cover letters.
    The study was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by
OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly
skilled administrative professionals. The survey is based on telephone
interviews with 100 senior executives from the largest companies in Canada.

    Executives were asked, "When evaluating prospective job candidates, how
valuable is the cover letter that accompanies the resume?" Their responses:

    
              Very valuable.............................  27%
              Somewhat valuable.........................  66%
              Not valuable at all.......................   7%
                                                         ----
                                                         100%
    

    Executives also were asked, "When you receive a resume electronically
from a job candidate, how common is it for that resume to be accompanied by a
letter of introduction or cover letter?" Their responses:

    
              Very common...............................  51%
              Somewhat common...........................  36%
              Not common at all.........................   7%
              Don't know................................   6%
                                                         ----
                                                         100%
    

    "Submitting a resume without a cover letter is like not shaking hands
when meeting someone for the first time," said Dave Willmer, executive
director of OfficeTeam. "Those who aren't including cover letters with their
resumes are missing an opportunity to make a good first impression and set
themselves apart from other job applicants."
    Willmer added, "A cover letter should demonstrate the applicant's
knowledge of the company, highlight applicable skills and work experience, and
explain any resume anomalies, such as extended employment gaps."
    OfficeTeam offers the following seven tips to help job seekers develop
strong cover letters:

    
    1) Name names. Address your letter to the specific hiring manager rather
       than including a generalized introduction. If you don't know the
       hiring manager's name, call the company and ask.
    2) Do your homework. Research the company online and demonstrate how your
       knowledge and skills fit the job and could benefit the organization.
    3) Solve any mysteries. If you have any long employment gaps, explain how
       you filled the time. Mention professional development courses or
       volunteer activities that show additional efforts to keep your skills
       current.
    4) Leave something for the resume. Limit your cover letter to one page,
       if printed, or a few paragraphs, if submitted in the body of an
       e-mail.
    5) Make a plan. Demonstrate your excitement for the position and conclude
       by identifying next steps such as, "I'll follow up with you next week
       to discuss meeting in person."
    6) Read and reread. Just as you would scrutinize your resume, take time
       to review your cover letter for typos and grammatical errors. Have a
       friend or mentor read it as an added precaution.
    7) Be a savvy submitter. When applying through online job boards, always
       choose the option to add your cover letter to your resume. When
       e-mailing application materials to a hiring manager, paste your cover
       letter within the body of your message.
    

    Survey Methodology
    ------------------
    The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by
OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly
skilled administrative professionals. The survey is based on telephone
interviews with 100 randomly selected senior executives at Canada's 1,000
largest companies.

    About OfficeTeam
    ----------------
    OfficeTeam provides businesses with the highly skilled administrative
talent they need to maximize productivity, achieve cost efficiency and support
full-time staff. The staffing firm has more than 300 locations worldwide and
offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: To schedule an interview for local commentary in Toronto,
    Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton or Vancouver, please contact Jim Dimovski at
    416.350.2010, ext. 62024.





For further information:

For further information: OFFICETEAM: Jim Dimovski, (416) 350-2010,
jim.dimovski@rhi.com


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