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April’s #CBJobChat Recap: Cover Letters, Follow-ups and Relocation

#CBJobChatIf you’ll recall, we recently took our first foray into the exciting world of Twitter chats. Our goal with these chats is to facilitate open conversations between hiring managers, recruiters and job seekers and enable career experts to share their advice and expereince with those looking to make a good impression.

In our most recent chat, we focused on the application process. From the cover letter to the follow-up, we invited job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers to give their $0.02.

We received more great advice than we can possibly post here. (Thanks! Seriously, we’re so appreciative of all the participants.) For those of you who missed out, we’ve put together a brief recap of the questions we asked and a sample of the helpful input we received.

Q1: Cover letters…Do you always need one? And do you always include one?

  • Always include one. Even when attaching “resume.” Just puts emphasis on how awesome I am. – @AshShute
  • Yes, cover letters are necessary. Since most candidates don’t include one, you are differentiating yourself right away. – @TheJobQuest
  • I hope that they show the hiring manager that I’ve taken the time to explain why I think I would be a good fit @JohnKirsopp
  • Cover letter? I’d say it’s a definite plus. That objective line in your resume is not going to do all the heavy lifting for you. @BlairAtVolt

Q2: Job seekers often ask “What info should I include in a cover letter? How long should it be?” Is there a right answer?

  • Include: Your 1st experience w/ the company, why they impress you, & how you’d be a good fit. @tjohnsoniii
  • I say the [cover letter] should be no longer than 1 page. It’s like writing a good essay. Effective doesn’t and shouldn’t equal lengthy! @srlaugtug
  • If you’re going to use a cover letter take the time to personalize it for each job you submit it for – use it to tell YOUR story! @thegirlinhr
  • Yup. It’s a commercial, not a documentary. RT @JohnKirsopp: No longer than 1 page, you don’t want to bore the reader @SuzanneWillett

Q3: Job seekers say, “I’ve applied (and applied and applied) and I never hear back. What gives?”

  • Waiting is hard. So is being patient. If you reach out 3 times and no response, then it’s time to move on @CornOnTheJob
  • Apply to jobs where you meet 80% of the qualifications. That should improve response rate. @WaySolutions
  • Traditional black holes still exist, follow up w phone call after a few days or w/1 week since recruiters get inundated w/resumes @Azn_CyberSleuth
  • 500+ other people applying too – it’s time consuming for the [hiring manager] to respond to everyone. Either that or your resume isn’t good @GreatResume

Q4: When job seekers don’t hear back — esp. after an interview — should they follow-up? How and when do you do it?

  • I ask, do you want to work for comp that takes forever to get back to you? Do they value U as employee if they don’t answer? – @AshShute
  • I send handwritten [thank-you] note. F/u email if I haven’t heard a week later. Nothing from those two? I move on. @SuzanneWillett
  • Follow up HOW they contacted you the very first time. If they emailed you, then email. If they called, then call. @CornOnTheJob
  • AGREED! Handwritten notes make a huge impression unless they doubt your technology skills, then email. @WaySolutions

Q5: How should you approach an out-of-state job search? Should you prove your willingness/plan to relocate?

  • If you have a connection to the area, make sure it stands out. If went to college nearby, move “Education” to Pg 1 of resume @CatRey
  • “I’m interested in relocating to this area” says I want you to move me “I’m relocating to this area” says you are here & available @tombolt
  • Use a friend’s local address as recruiters search via zip code. Explain l8r RT @AshShute: Don’t include address. Just cell phone. @WaySolutions
  • Don’t go way overboard proving willingness to relocate. Can come off as desperate. @TheJobQuest

All that wisdom in one hour and 140-character messages. Impressive. Thanks again to all who participated and to those who were just watching and soaking in the information.

We’ll be holding these chats on the first Monday  night of every month at 7 p.m. Central. We’ll post reminders and details for upcoming chats on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, so make sure you’re following us! Also, drop us a line on Twitter using the #cbjobchat hashtag (or in the comments below) to let us know what topics you want us to address in upcoming chats or to add your voice to the conversation.

Stephanie Gaspary

About Stephanie Gaspary

Stephanie is the managing director of content strategy at CareerBuilder, tasked with creating opportunities to share the CareerBuilder story across job seeker and employer channels. Stephanie, a lifelong learner, holds a Master's in Business Administration and a Master's in Management - both from North Park University and a Bachelor's degree in Art from Bethel University. A Minnesotan at heart, Stephanie has lived in Chicago for nearly 20 years, is the doting mother to two wacky german shorthaired pointer pups, looks forward to her morning run *almost* as much as that first cup of coffee and vows to one day live in the mountains.
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