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Attach cover letters when applying to large companies?

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  • Mar 6th, 2021 1:18 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 5, 2021
14 posts

Attach cover letters when applying to large companies?

I have been applying to the big banks and haven't gotten any interviews. I noticed the Scotia and BMO don't require a cover letter.
Do you include a cover letter even though the application doesn't ask for one? And have you gotten an interview without submitting a cover letter?

Thanks.
12 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 1, 2017
1748 posts
1727 upvotes
Don’t waste your time with cover letters when applying to banks or other large companies. Spend your time ensuring your resume has many of the key words from the job description in it. That would give you a better chance of lending an interview.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5942 posts
5124 upvotes
I always have a customized cover letter (based on job posting) with my resume (in one PDF document). I always thought it was expected/encouraged. It's better to have one even when it's not needed, then to not have one when it is expected. A customized cover letter (especially if you talk about the company) also shows that you took the time to craft rather than blindly shooting of resumes to see if any company bites.
Sr. Member
Feb 5, 2007
771 posts
349 upvotes
Mississauga
When I talked to a recruiter at a company, they said it did help. However, I honestly don't think it does. I'd just write a cover letter template with a few variations and just blindly submit it if asked.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 14, 2012
2282 posts
1702 upvotes
Montreal, QC
Ryusha wrote: I have been applying to the big banks and haven't gotten any interviews. I noticed the Scotia and BMO don't require a cover letter.
Do you include a cover letter even though the application doesn't ask for one? And have you gotten an interview without submitting a cover letter?

Thanks.
I don't work in the banking/financial industry (any more) but I always include a cover letter in my application even when applying for an internal position within the same department in the same institution (ex: IT department in same institution/company). When I did work in the financial industry (and this was very briefly), I worked in the IT department and my application included my CV and cover letter.
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2017
1063 posts
1179 upvotes
Unless you are applying for a specialized position that is highly technical or academic in nature, just focus on refining your resume. My HR friends have flat out said to me that no one reads cover letters. In fact, if you send in a crappy generic one with typos and grammar mistakes, that'll probably negatively affect you more, if in the off chance someone in talent acquisition actually gives it a read.

I've gotten many interviews that converted into full-time offers without a cover letter - all at large companies with very recognizable logos through online resume drops
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5942 posts
5124 upvotes
bear20 wrote: Unless you are applying for a specialized position that is highly technical or academic in nature, just focus on refining your resume. My HR friends have flat out said to me that no one reads cover letters. In fact, if you send in a crappy generic one with typos and grammar mistakes, that'll probably negatively affect you more, if in the off chance someone in talent acquisition actually gives it a read.

I've gotten many interviews that converted into full-time offers without a cover letter - all at large companies with very recognizable logos through online resume drops
Do you customized your resume for each posting - if yes, how so? What about postings that ask or mention a cover letter, you don't send one?
Deal Addict
Jan 28, 2017
1063 posts
1179 upvotes
hierophant wrote: Do you customized your resume for each posting - if yes, how so? What about postings that ask or mention a cover letter, you don't send one?
Yes, I do spend a lot of time customizing keywords - during an active job search, I go through multiple iterations of my resume. Core content is the same, but the wording/delivery change to fit the posting. Also I find even after going through an interview and reflecting on it, you pick up various queues that will help you further refine your resume for future opportunities.

If there's a job that 1) I'm really interested in and 2) fairly confident I would be a solid fit that requires a cover letter, I do have a rough template I keep around and ready to customize based on the job description/my experience. Though, unless it fits those two criteria well, I'll pass on it. But most large companies don't have a cover letter requirement, maybe some hot startup/unicorns would, and that would be a case by case basis for me.
Deal Addict
Jul 12, 2008
4368 posts
1259 upvotes
GTA
I don't bother with cover letters anymore unless they specifically ask for it.

- A lot of employers use an application system that extracts all the information you would normally put in a cover letter
- Using Indeed or email to apply, I have gotten a really good response rate just sending out a resume
Sr. Member
Jun 3, 2006
897 posts
310 upvotes
Markham
The way I see it is, even if 9 out of 10 don't read it, the 1 out of 10 might. There are some old school HR people out there, and it doesn't hurt to cover your bases. It's not like it's going to take hours to do one.

That said, I'm at the point in my career where I don't "spray and pray" when it comes to job apps. If I'm applying for a job, it's because I really want it. I'm not just looking to get interviews for the sake of it. If I was applying to 50 jobs at once, I might consider skipping out on the cover letter.
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
2439 posts
2105 upvotes
NOT centre of Univer…
I was say send a well written , customized cover letter and resume almost every time. I may be old school, but I do a lot of hiring.

I work in a large company. Our system first filter automatically, then our HR short lists based on qualification, then they send us the ones that made it through the initial screening. If there are a lot, then I will look at the resume first for the highest match and they go to my top pile. Then if I still have too many (which I always do), then I look at the cover letters. If they don’t have one, they go into my ‘come back later pile’. I look at cover letter to see if I can get an idea their writing and fit. Those with typos, or wrong job, or poor cover letter move to my ‘don’t bother’ Them my top X usually 6-12 may get interviews.

Last time for a mid level position we had almost 1400 applicants, I receive a pile of 100. Every person I interviewed had a cover letter. There may have been some great candidates without cover letters, but I had too many more that cared enough to write one. One exception is if your are asked to submit because someone wanted you. My spouse gets these requests all the time, and sometimes he doesn’t have the time to update his cover, they often tell him not worry because it’s usually he is being shortlisted into the interview pile because they know him.

My advice is a well written cover letter will never hurt. A poor one will and none, could hurt. So if you want to increase your chances then write a proper cover letter. Same with thank you letters. I almost get a interview for every position that I have applied for, but I am very focused.
On a 'smart' device that isn't always so smart. So please forgive the autocorrects and typos. If it bothers you, then don't read my posts, but don't waste my time correcting me. If you can get past the typos, then my posts generally have some value.
Jr. Member
Dec 10, 2011
160 posts
160 upvotes
514
Macx2mommy wrote: I work in a large company. Our system first filter automatically, then our HR short lists based on qualification, then they send us the ones that made it through the initial screening. If there are a lot, then I will look at the resume first for the highest match and they go to my top pile. Then if I still have too many (which I always do), then I look at the cover letters. If they don’t have one, they go into my ‘come back later pile’. I look at cover letter to see if I can get an idea their writing and fit. Those with typos, or wrong job, or poor cover letter move to my ‘don’t bother’ Them my top X usually 6-12 may get interviews.
The perfect example of poor HR management. Good candidates should be hired for their skills, not for covers letters probably copied from somewhere else.
Deal Fanatic
Mar 15, 2005
5676 posts
1228 upvotes
As a hiring manager that has hired maybe 15-20 people in the past year alone:

Every time I have a posting my company receives hundreds of applications.

HR probably filters that down to dozens

I am quick scanning resumes when I get them to sort into piles of "good" and "bad" . Typically I will be looking at the skills component and experience briefly.

I don't really have time for cover letters, and often when I stop to read them they hurt the candidate more than help because it is either a copy and paste thing, or riddled with grammar and other errors

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