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Cover Letters, are they Really Needed?

Cover Letters, are they Really Needed?

Tips for Jobseekers

For years, experts have told job seekers that they must include a cover letter with every resume they send out. But is this really necessary? Or is a cover letter just a waste of time?

“All the recruiters I know don’t even read cover letters,” said Anne-Marie Baiynd, President and CEO of TheTradingBook.com and the former CEO of a recruiting firm. “The managers don’t read them either because it’s all fluff.”

Baiynd told StreetID that she doesn’t care what job applicants have to say, “I just want to see what it is that you’ve done, because the proof is always going to be in the pudding.”

What about the belief that your cover letter can serve as an attention-grabbing catalyst?

“Your attention-getter is the objective statement at the very top of the resume,” said Baiynd. “That’s your 35-word blurb that you get to give to them.”

If you’re still tempted to write a cover letter, Baiynd said that you can write “eloquently enough” to “inject those types of power words” (which normally appear in a cover letter) in your actual resume.

Standing Out in the Digital World

Instead of relying on a cover letter to get the attention of prospective employers, Baiynd said that you need to be prepared to give before you get. In fact, it is that very attitude — giving without expecting anything in return — that led her to TheTradingBook.com.

“About two years into trading I found Twitter,” said Baiynd. “I began to tweet everything that I was doing. I had no intention of doing anything other than trading and giving to the community because there are tons of people that need that. But it’s that excess pushing of energy where I expected really nothing in return, and it just opened up wide.”

Baiynd said that she honestly believes that if you can build yourself a brand — “a presence, where you become a specialist in some space” — you can move on to the next level, whatever that may be.

“The internet is so pervasive that anything that you do gets seen in some fashion,” she said. “If you work at building enough of a brand for yourself — I’m not talking about a position as a junior analyst, although you can do that — I’m talking about someone who comes with real skills and says, ‘I’ve been downsized, what can I do, where can I get seen?’ Everybody is so digitally wired that there are going to be large organizations that are looking through Twitter feeds.”

Baiynd said that for the Twitter followers she has obtained, “the growth has been purely organic.”

“I’ve done nothing to feed that beast but put free information out there,” she said. “And it has built a brand that has allowed me to sell a lot of books.”

Jesse Marrus is the Founder and CEO of StreetID, a financial career matchmaking, news and networking site.  He has unique insight into the financial services job industry including career advice, employment trends, fund formations, layoffs and hiring developments.

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