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>Someone sensibly suggested that one way to screen resumes is to only read
those with a cover letter, and moreover to use the resumes and the cover
letter as criteria by which to judge the applicant.
>Particularly for tech writing, the materials the applicants submit are
directly relevant to their abilities. If Jane Doe can't produce a well-written,
easy-to-read-and-follow resume, why should we assume that she can do any
better with a user manual? If John Jones, working essentially for himself,
can't write a concise cover letter that includes all of the requested
on what basis should we assume he could do any better working for us? If
X can't be bothered to write or customize a cover letter for a specific job,
s/he bother to tailor *our* material for specific audiences and purposes?
>Resumes and cover letters really are forms of technical writing. Together,
they provide a good initial demonstration of an applicant's abilities.
Here, here! I wholeheartedly agree. I applied (and got) a tech writing
job 5 years ago and after I'd been there 3 years or so, came across
the resume and cover letter I'd sent, as well as the resume of one of my
contenders. I picked out 3 typos in the other guy's resume, yet
he was still under consideration for the job. I can't understand why! I
put a lot of effort into my resume and cover letters -- in fact, I had
guy call me to compliment me on the cover letter. He said that for
political reasons he had to hire from within, but he just wanted to call
and let me know what a super letter I wrote! That was the nicest
rejection I ever got.
I have a friend who envies my salary and who knows English sentence
structure very well. She can pick out a typo a mile away and all
that, and decided to apply for an editor/writer job. And she asked me to
write her cover letter for her! I had to tell her, if you can't put
together a simple cover letter, how are you going to write a book?