I’ve been on the hiring side of the desk and a cover letter definitely matters to me. I will read each one with every resume. The coverletter tells me more about the person than the resume. I was hiring for a position that had great resumes, but the cover letters showed they didn’t have attention to detail (typos, grammar mistakes). When you put in your cover letter that you have attention to detail, it would be nice if you actually spelled the words attention/detail correctly. The cover letter should be the opportunity to promote yourself and tell me things that your resume doesn’t.
While anyone can buy a resume, few applicants that I am aware of hire people to write cover letters. Cover letters tell me if an applicant can organize their thoughts in a logical manner and communicate in writing. To my horror, I have heard senior HR managers at major corporations and recruiters tell me they do not even read cover letters! Of course I would fire any recruiter so stupid as to throw away critical hiring data and the HR manager as well.
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Most if not all of the time, you’ve got to know somebody or have an inside connection. Greedy corporations now days post positions knowing they will not respond to domestic applicants regardless of qualifications. It’s just a ruse to push for more H1B visas or an excuse to outsource more jobs. Sometimes its just a means to go after a specific person when there is a barrier to recruiting from another specific company. “No, we didn’t recruit him/her, they just responded to our ad”.
A lot of the time, you have to remove stuff from your resume, you 3 degrees and 25 years experience mostly scares off the penny pinchers even before they learn of your requirements/desires.
When I recently set out to bring my up to date, I was surprised to discover that there are very few LaTeX classes or package designed for writing resumes. I decided to fill this void to the best of my ability, and the result is available . This class requires the non-standard package to display some graphical elements. Once you've defined your contact information, you can write the rest of your resume. This is done in the same way that you would write any LaTeX document, using the usual commands for sectioning, lists, etc — although I recommend you use the compact lists from the package to save vertical space. One resume-specific formatting command is provided: