Q. Do recruiters and hiring managers actually read cover letters and emails? What about thank you notes after the interview?
A. The answer to your first question is that recruiters and hiring managers may or may not read a cover letter or email—so “maybe.” If the cover letter or email is short, powerful, professional, and targeted, then you should assume it will be read. If it is confusing and generic, it will not be read, or even worse it will count against you.
Should you include a cover letter with your resume? The answer to that question is an unqualified yes. If only one recruiter or hiring manager expects a cover letter or email, then it was worth the time and effort to craft one.
As for thank you letters, they also cannot hurt—if they are short, powerful, professional, and tailored to the actual experience and information you received at the interview.
By the way, “professional” includes correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as clear and correct contact information for both you and the person you are writing to.
Q. I’m ex-military, looking for a job with a civilian company. How do I make civilians understand everything I did in the military? They seem to get easily confused when I talk about my career, and I’m not sure that any of my experience relates to a corporate job.
A. The military world is filled with jargon and arcane terms that the civilian world has never mastered. The job of your resume is to clarify those terms. This is the same advice I give to civilians who are in high tech careers: spell out acronyms, keep the jargon as minimal as possible, and mention skills in terms of what you accomplished with those skills.
For someone with a military background, that last piece of advice might mean concentrating on your accomplishments in leadership, cost savings, team motivation, training, negotiation, communications, and project management—all valuable assets in the civilian world. A focus on results will make it easier for you to bridge the military-to-civilian gap. A security clearance, overseas experience, and advancement in your military career are all pluses that the civilian world can easily understand.
Robin’s Resumes® has decades of experience helping military personnel transition in civilian jobs. Please contact us today.