As a recruiter, you can imagine that I see a lot of resumes. I can review them quickly and think that I do a good job discerning the marketable skills of the attorney. But I’m not a mind reader.
I often receive an e-mail with no subject matter (or the subject line of “resume attached”) and nothing in the body of the email. What am I supposed to do with this? Obviously you want me to do something, otherwise you wouldn’t have taken the time to send it to me.
I bring this up not because I want to vent about my job, but I want to highlight the missed opportunity.
I bring this up because I correctly assumed that if someone is doing this to me, they are doing this to others when applying for actual jobs. A couple of quick inquiries to friends who are in hiring positions confirmed that they often receive unsolicited resumes with no cover letter or explanation of why they are sending the resume. Even if there is an open position, not being able to effectively articulate why you should be considered for the position is a missed opportunity and often enough to get your resume tossed.
Lagging only slightly behind the blank email is the sending of an email/cover letter that is clearly generic and isn’t tailored to the firm or the position. Jay Karen is the Executive Director of a non-profit who is currently in the process of reviewing resumes for an open position. He told me that he sees cover letters “that say how great the applicant is, but in no way mention the actual job and WHY they are a good fit. They tell me ‘these are the important things I’ve accomplished…I hope to hear from you soon.’ They don’t tell me why they’d be a good fit and expect me to understand why their experience fits with my current needs.”
If you don’t connect the dots between your accomplishments/experience and the position you are applying for, you can’t expect that someone else will do it for you.