Cover letter – As an environmental, health and safety professional do I need one?
O.k., cover this, recently I got asked “Can a cover letter make a difference in a hiring decision?” Not sure, but depends upon the career you’re looking to either enter or re-join. If you’re in technology, the fact of the matter is that, with the exception of entry level jobs, most jobs are found through networking. Unfortunately, most people don’t network enough, and as Tom Peters says, “There’s only a one letter difference between networking and notworking.” Having, or not having, a cover letter on your resume is going to make little difference. Having a cover letter in an entry level job just proves that you can put words together on paper.
Cover letters – How do I view them?
Previously, as a hiring manager, I’d first review the resumes to make sure that you weren’t applying for a position that you’re so over qualified for, or that they were horrible, and after that the details. If you’re entering the environmental, health and safety field (industrial hygienist, CIH, etc.) – that’s a fairly traditional industry, and the human resource people are going to expect a cover letter.
While having a “decent” cover letter can help, it’s not going to make or break a hiring decision. Rather than spending countless hours agonizing over the perfect cover letter, spend those hours networking, posting blog articles, and becoming a subject matter expert. If you’re unemployed, as difficult as it is, please don’t hide yourself in your house and believe that all hope of finding a job is hopeless. There’re lots of environmental, health and safety job out there, but you do have to be flexible and don’t expect to start off as a manager.