Is it Time to Kill the Cover Letter?

Technology transfer recruiting has changed quite a bit with the advent of the Internet, social networking, and round-the-clock access to files, figures, and essential information. Clients are no longer limited to a small pool to choose from and candidates are more aware of the opportunities out there.

This means a lot more competition for candidates as our clients are able to select from the very best instead of from the “they might work” pile.

I read an article this week that announced the cover letter is dead. I thought about it. I wanted to argue why it was still important and remained a great way to differentiate yourself from the pack but…I couldn’t.

Not with any real enthusiasm.

The answer to why cover letters are dead is an easy one – no one reads them. But it’s not because we’re too busy to do it. We are but that’s not it. It’s because for us, they’ve become obsolete.


Why Cover Letters Waste a Technical Recruiter’s Time and Yours

We are very interested in your experience but we’re going to get that off of your resume. If you are a technology transfer professional interested in one of our positions, chances are we sought you for your experience.

Secondly, the relationship we have, and your ability to connect with us, is more important than a snazzy cover letter. Relationship building is an essential part of what differentiates an effective technology transfer professional from an ineffective one. We can’t rely on paper. We have to know you are social and persuasive enough to get the job done.

Finally, personality is key to our success. Placing the right person in the right culture is what keeps our technology transfer clients reaching out to us again and again as their departments grow. We get a significant percentage of our new clients from referrals.

We’ll scan your cover letter, spend a large amount of time on your resume analyzing your past experience, and see if there’s a match with our openings.

It’s important for us to know salary history (in the form of a deal sheet) because it often speaks to level of experience, trust, and responsibility. We also want to see proof and examples of your skill set. These things far outweigh daily job duties. We want to be able to take a look at your past and see you are a good fit for a position.

No one likes to guess.

When you provide us with solid, credible work examples, you shine. You stand out. The best thing you can do for yourself as a technology transfer job candidate is provide numbers and data to make your case as to why you are the perfect fit. Number-based resumes will always be in style and help you climb to the top of the pile faster than any cover letter ever could.

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