The “T” Cover Letter – The Only Type Worth Sending

June 7, 2010 at 12:01 am 63 comments

Many job-seekers have asked whether or not it’s worthwhile including a cover letter with their résumé when they apply to an online job posting, or email it to a contact at one of their target companies. It’s a question that many people struggle with. Should they attached a cover letter as a separate Microsoft Word document? Should the cover letter be the body of the email? Does anyone actually read cover letters?

I’ve asked that last question to a number of colleagues of mine who are both recruiters and HR people. The answers are all over the map. At one extreme, some recruiters say they never even look at cover letters, and just go right to the résumé. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some say they pay close attention to the cover letters, and actually use them to decide if they even want to look at the person’s résumé based on what it says and how well it’s written. And others are somewhere in between – they’ll sometimes glance at it, but pay more attention to the résumé for evaluation purposes.

Basically, there are three ways to send a cover letter in an email:
1) Typed into the body of the email, with the résumé attached as a Word-formatted document.
2) As a separate (second) Word-formatted document sent as an attachment along with the Word-formatted résumé.
3) Integrated into the actual résumé document itself, and formatted in Word to appear as the first page of the résumé which is sent as an attachment.

By the way … just as an aside – I would not recommend using the Adobe PDF format for résumés or cover letters. The reason is that most recruiters and HR people will want to import the text of your résumé into their electronic database or Applicant Tracking System for future keyword searches. Those programs deal much easier with Microsoft Word documents, and often cannot read or properly import the text from a PDF. All that beautiful formatting you think you are preserving by using PDF gets lost in translation, and your résumé can end up looking like unreadable gibberish!

Personally, I prefer the first method listed above … I’m much more likely to read the body of an email message than to open up a separate attachment. The likelihood of anyone opening a cover letter sent as a separate Word document is very low. However, if you are bound and determined to force your cover letter to be read, the third method is probably the most surefire. Everyone opens the résumé, and making your cover letter be the first page guarantees it will be seen. Of course, the potential down side of doing it that way is that it could annoy the reader who only has 20-30 seconds to review your résumé, and will be less likely to get to the “good parts” if you make them stop and read your cover letter first.

Whichever way you do it, if you do decide to send a cover letter along with your résumé, in my opinion there is only one format that is worth considering … it’s called the “T” Cover Letter. The name derives from the look of the page itself. Imagine taking a piece of paper and drawing a huge letter “T” on it, with the top line appearing under your opening paragraph, and the vertical line dividing the page below into two equal spaces. The opener should be a brief introduction of who you are, and what position you are interested in (two or three sentences at most.) Then you say something like: “Below is a comparison of your job requirements and my qualifications.”

Now comes the good part: in the “T” chart you’ve drawn, on the left side you have a heading called “Your Job Requirements” under which you copy and paste each of the bulleted requirements listed in the company’s job posting or job description. Then, on the right side you have a heading called “My Qualifications” under which you match up bullet-for-bullet your specific skills and experiences showing how you fit each job requirement on the left.

  • Here’s what it looks like:

It should be noted that this “T” format (which can also sometimes look more like a chart with boxes) can be easily created on a Word document using the Table creation tool. But because it depends so much on the formatting, it really only works if you are attaching a separate Word document to an email (numbers 2 & 3 above.) However, you can still use a modified version of the same concept if you choose to have your cover letter be the body of an email. All you have to do is just forget the fancy “T” table, and simply list each requirement from their job description, and under each one list your matching bulleted qualifications. It may not be as “pretty” as the formatted “T” version, but it serves the same exact purpose. Also, this would be the version to use in an online application where you are asked to paste your cover letter into an open field in a web-based form.

The reason this “T” Cover Letter is so effective should be obvious. Most recruiters and HR people are looking for exact matches to their job requirements, and are under a tremendous amount of time pressure to screen an overwhelming flood of applicants. [Read “The Brutal Truth on How Résumés Get Eliminated” for more on how that screening process works.] Typically, they’ll scan the first page of a résumé for 20-30 seconds, and if they don’t quickly see exactly what they think they want or need right up front … bye bye – delete key for you! By providing the “T” Cover Letter, you are simplifying their job, and cutting right to the chase of what they are looking for … the match! You are saying, in effect, “I’m exactly what you are looking for, and here is why!” It’s kind of like “Résumé Reading for Dummies!” If you truly match their job requirements point-for-point – and send the “T” Cover Letter to prove it – your chances of passing through that first step and progressing on to the next step (usually a phone screen) will be WAY higher than someone who just sends a résumé with either a generic cover letter, or none at all.

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The Brutal Truth on How Résumés Get Eliminated The Résumé Test & Checklist: Does Yours Pass?

63 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nancy Patterson  |  June 7, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I’ve been sending the T-letter format for 10 yrs. It has always proved beneficial. Once your requirements are in place, they rarely chance. Pull their requirments from their ad. It takes 10 minutes to write a stellar cover letter. Learn this. It will pay off!

    Reply
  • 2. Nancy Patterson  |  June 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Correction…once your qualifications are in place, you add their requirements. oops!

    Reply
  • 3. croy  |  June 7, 2010 at 11:38 am

    so let me get this straight… the ability to write a well-written, clear and eloquent cover letter no longer means squat? what you’ve shown here is NOT a cover letter, in fact it isn’t a letter at all, its an excel chart with a few words of fluff built around it. these articles have definitely been eye openers for me, i have to retrain myself to think of the recruiter as a 2 year old with a 10 second attention span. weird.

    Reply
    • 4. Michael Spiro  |  June 7, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      Croy:
      I am no 2 year old (although sometimes I do wish I could go back in time to that simpler era and do it all over again … only this time I’d skip the teen years!) But it’s not such a simpler time and the rules of the employment game have changed drastically. Applying for a job in today’s overcrowded market is not an essay contest where the most “eloquent” letter wins a prize. Only after you’ve been in the place of a person who must review hundreds and hundreds of applications for a single job with very specific requirements, might you see the value in the “T” Cover letter that others have seen. It does work.
      -Michael

      Reply
  • 5. Stephanie C  |  June 7, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Michael, thank you as well. I think this will be very beneficial in my pursuit of a new position. I agree it will work well for myself and in gaining a recruiter’s attention.
    Stephanie Campbell

    Reply
  • 6. Michele Boisvert, CMP  |  June 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Thank you, Michael, for sharing this wonderful and helpful tool. I have used it several times and it has proven successful in catching the recruiter’s attention, saving him/her time. Also, It has given me a strategy of assessment to use when evaluating if a new opportunity is indeed one I should consider and pursue.
    Michele Boisvert, CMP

    Reply
  • 7. Mike Flanagan  |  June 7, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I read with zeal your Recruiter Musings. You have some great stuff. Your content is not only right on philosophically (as in accords with reality) but very insightful and detailed. I’m glad you take the time to write it.

    Reply
  • 8. Mike Perry  |  June 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Mega-Thanks Mike,

    You bet – as a hiring manager or recruiter, this would grab my attention over another dry, standard everyday letter or resume. What’s your advice on the pre-formatted coverletter though? The ones everyone posts on the job boards? It’s difficult to compare specifics when you don’t have any without writing and posting a new cover letter for every job listed on the board. I think I’ve found one way that might work.

    Thanks Again

    Mike P

    Reply
    • 9. Michael Spiro  |  June 7, 2010 at 9:37 pm

      Mike:
      I would create a new cover letter for each job application you submit through the job boards, and not use a “one-size-fits-all” pre-formatted letter.
      – Michael

      Reply
  • 10. Na'ama  |  June 7, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Thank you so much for that helpful tool. It is few months that I have been looking for a job and this is the first time I come across this idea. It makes me wonder about the fate of all the numerous cover letters and Resumes I have sent up to now.

    By the way, do you think that “T” cover letter is also relevant for applying an internship position?

    Reply
  • 12. Henry Gregor  |  June 7, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Henry Gregor
    President/Consultant at Evaluations Plus – Business and Management Specialists

    The T letter just mimics the matching process the company is going to do with its OCR or other electronic filtering systems, why bother? The job seeker needs to differentiate him/herself from the clutter. They must have a Unique Value Proposition that they can deliver to the hiring manager, not just fed into the maw of HR’s resume digesting system

    I might agree with “it certainly can’t hurt” but you would still be playing into the matching process. If the company is big enough to have HR they will first do a negative selection. “Let’s get rid of as many of these resumes as quickly as possible!” e.g. wrong zip code, no degree, wrong degree, no PAR statements, out of work for too long, not held similar position, spelling or grammatical errors, etc and on and on.

    Resume (and cover letter) submission is an action that has two sides to it, the employers and the prospect; how does the employer discern that this person is worth ‘considering’ for the open position? How does the prospect make sure that his submission will strike gold? If he/she can avoid all of the aforementioned negatives then the decision will come back to the matching process. How well does the candidates previous experience (and current or previous position) and education match the job description?

    At this point the ‘T’ letter might be a positive factor but a cover letter explaining (with facts) how he/she will help the employer solve ‘the’ problem and make or save them “money” will have a bigger impact, maybe not with HR but certainly with the hiring manager. At some point in the resume evaluation process HR will exceed its capabilities to match the prospect to the job description. At that point the short pile of resumes will be sent to the hiring manager, for further culling.

    If the candidate passes that test he/she might be put on the short list and maybe brought in for an interview or given a screening interview by telephone. Why not try to bypass all of that selection process (and its many pitfalls) by appealing directly to the hiring manager? In the long run the hiring manager will still have a serious problem in picking the “best candidate” anyway. If the candidate realizes that she/he has to sell her/himself into the position their preparation will be much better and they will match themselves to all aspects of the job requirement, ‘T’ letter or not.

    Michael Spiro
    Corporate Recruiter / Executive Search

    Henry:
    I agree 100% with your assessment of how the weeding-out process works. If you plan to bypass HR and go directly to a hiring manager (which is usually a much better approach than just applying online and hoping for the best), then skip the “T” Letter write a more directed appeal to that decision-maker.
    -Michael
    .
    Henry Gregor
    President/Consultant at Evaluations Plus – Business and Management Specialists

    Thanks for your comments Michael. Despite what I just indicated, it has been my experience that few candidates have the ability to synthesize a “direct approach” program for themselves. It appears that 99% of the job seekers are still submitting resumes on line.

    The TV ad’ that “The Ladders” has, showing a tennis match; is a great allegorical example (with all the confusion and clutter) of the internet hiring process. Unfortunately it currently seems to be the pre-eminent way to search for a job.

    Reply
  • 13. Mark Schrader  |  June 8, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Making a table mapping the job requirements to your qualifications saves the hiring manager the time an effort needed to do the mapping, and can be used to add relevant qualifications that did not make it into the resume.

    The challenge is to keep the entries very brief.

    Reply
  • 14. Barbara Siegel  |  June 8, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Even though recruiters may not necessarily rush to look at a cover letter, sending one may still be expected for professional opportunities. I myself will read the resume first, but then certainly review the cover letter if the resume is of interest to me.

    Reply
  • 15. JP Michel  |  June 8, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Great article again Michael. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been circulating your article to different people in my network this morning.

    Reply
  • 16. Baiyina Salahuddin  |  June 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I like the T type of cover letter best also (although I didn’t know it was called a “T cover letter”). I have noticed that the T format is neither encouraged nor talked about as much as the old fashioned cover letters that don’t even get you noticed. I am surprised that companies aren’t encouraging or even insisting upon the T cover letter.

    Reply
  • 17. Mika  |  June 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    Jolly good stuff! First time i hear about the T-letter. Good way to draw valued comparisons between experience and requirements.

    But i agree with Amy [who commented: “So obvious and insightful into the needs of those looking for the perfect match. But suggest there needs to be a strategic space for the key reason one is better than other candidates — the emotional clincher that assures you go into the ‘must interview’ pile.”] Aside from crossing your “T”, you need to also strategically dot your “I” !

    Mika

    Reply
  • 18. JMuwonge  |  June 8, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Impressed. First time I have heard about the T letter. I also agree with Amy & Mika … The emotional clincher or the dot on your “i” is a must too.

    Reply
  • 19. Prakash Mulani  |  June 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Great stuff Michael. Like some of us, I had not heard of a T letter as well. I really do like it a lot and think it will be killer. I will definitely be forwardig this around to my fellow memebers in my group on linkedin as well a few of my friends.
    As I am in the process of “hunting” for a job, I hope I am able to “kill” my prey with this T letter. :)
    Will keep you posted on the outcome.
    Thanxs.

    Reply
  • 20. Naresh  |  June 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

    I felt that this will definitely change my conversations with recruiters in the future. Thanks and I will update you after the change.

    Reply
  • 21. Gale Strejc  |  June 9, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Thank you Michael so much for this. I have been looking for six months for something that would work and I believe wholeheartedly that this is it. You are a genius. Thanks again. Gale

    Reply
  • 22. T Ncube  |  June 9, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Thank you very much I’ve been struggling with cover letters. I get nervous when I’m asked for one. It feels like I’m repeating myself. I’m 40 and graduated a few years ago, but I still can’t get a job with NGOs

    Reply
  • 23. Steve  |  June 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    This article makes complete sense and also provides the tools to implement a successful application to a desired and matching job. Nice posting.

    Reply
  • 24. Michele Lang  |  June 10, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks for this, Michael. It was very detailed and helpful–and came perfectly timed for the work that I’m doing on revising my cover letter!

    Thanks again.

    Reply
  • 25. Jackie  |  June 11, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    I only recently became aware of the ‘T’ letter and have to say I love it! I find it makes everything so much easier for all parties – it provides a clear and succinct coverage of what the employer is looking for (from the posting) and the skills the applicant has that matches those needs (from the resume). It makes it easy for the employer to see quickly if the individual has a match to points that are key for them and ensures that it will be worthwhile for them to turn to the resume to dig deeper into the person’s background.

    Reply
  • 26. Graeme  |  June 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Michael, I’d just like to say how much I enjoy reading your wordpress site and congratulate you on the content. Very useful, very clear and above all very useful!. Well done and again, thanks for sharing. Graeme

    Reply
  • 27. madezee.com  |  June 20, 2010 at 6:51 am

    Resume/Cover Letter Secrets…

    I found your entry interesting thus I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Reply
  • 28. Larry Miltner  |  June 21, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Michael,
    Just a note to say thanks for your articles in Recruiter Musings. I always learn something new from them. Nice job.
    Larry Miltner

    Reply
  • 29. Beth Tarbell  |  June 24, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Great discussion! I recently followed up my online resume and online cover letter with a branding statement brochure directed to the hiring manager. My resume was either eliminated by keyword process or there was a mix up because the hiring manager suddenly left and someone else was in charge. At any rate, that brochure was the reason the new hiring manager called me, saying she never would have known I applied for the position had I not sent a brochure and indicated that I had applied. This resulted in their company flying me out for four interviews with executives at their company.

    I would like to know about the key word elimination process, because many good candidates could be falling through the cracks. It’s not always possible to correctly guess what key words the employer will screen for.

    Reply
    • 30. Michael Spiro  |  June 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      Beth:
      Regarding the keywords … the best place to start is with a company’s job description. When applying to a specific job, make sure that the phrases, keywords and language found that job description also appear in your resume. Use them in the “T” Cover Letter as well.
      – Michael

      Reply
  • 31. Olga A. Frolova  |  June 24, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Thank you! I liked the “T” cover leter idea – simple and must be very efficient.

    Reply
  • 32. Rich Ahrens  |  July 2, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Michael – You’re right on with your assessment on resume reviewing. As a manager who has had to sift through dozens of resumes at a time, the average time is less than 30 seconds on the first pass. That’s why proper format and spell check are so important. If I come across two misspelled words the resume is toast. And if the resume reads like a job description, less than 10 seconds and it’s turned over.

    Your message on the T format cover letter really hit home. I was introduced to the format about 15 years ago, used it during job searches, and almost always received favorable comments about it when I got an interview. It was the final element that put me in front of the recruiter.

    Now that I’m once again exploring opportunities in the marketplace I have done exactly what you wrote: spent hours dusting off my resume and polishing it up. But when I submitted my new resume, I reverted back to the old, boring, faceless cover letter. Thank you for waking me up! I’m back to the T format again.

    Reply
  • 33. Lisa H  |  August 12, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    I began using this cover letter format in June when I read about it on LinkedIn. While I have not yet secured a position I have had great luck in getting the attention of HR and hiring managers. In two cases I stood out enough that while totally over qualitfied for the Customer Serivice supervisory job for which I applied the HR manager contacted me to discuss a higher-level management position that was open. I have gotten about a 50% response rate since using this format. I think one reason response % is up is that by using this over letter format I sometimes discover that I am not very qualified for the role and have stopped sending applications/resumes on jobs that are not a good fit

    Reply
  • 34. Radka  |  January 31, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    I personally think that the cover letters works only to find out the level of language command. This type of letter convey more information rather the blal bla ones which on top of this could be written from somebody else.
    I have written a lot of Cl and I do not have a lot of feedbacks on them. The employer does not read them at all. An assistant does and the recruiter does.
    Could you some body tell me what is the value preposition of the requiters in the era of Internet?

    Reply
    • 35. Michael Spiro  |  January 31, 2011 at 10:37 pm

      Radka:

      Your comments are quite amusing … although I’m quite sure you didn’t intend for them to be funny. If you think that cover letters are used to find out a person’s level of language command — well, then I suggest you find someone who has a better command of English to proof-read your writings! Perhaps your “blal bla ones” don’t really deserve “a lot of feedbacks.” And anyway – what’s wrong with assessing someone’s written communication skills by reading their cover letter? The ability to write clearly and effectively is a key skill for many jobs.

      And as to the value “preposition of requiters” … well, if you really believe that recruiters have no value in the era of the internet, then I suggest you read The Real Truth About Working with Recruiters. Good recruiters are making a ton of money by placing hard-to-find talent in today’s high tech world. In the staffing world, the internet is merely a collection of tools — not a replacement for relationships with hiring authorities, which is what good recruiters bring to the table.

      Good luck with your job search.

      – Michael

      Reply
  • 36. Amy  |  February 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    I hope this comment isn’t too late to get a response!

    I am applying for a early childhood educator position. My gut tells me that a more traditional format of cover letter would be more appropriate for this sort of position, as personability is just as important as fundamental qualifications. I also want to be able to provide a bit of explanation regarding a job i left only two months in last year. On the other hand, the early childhood center is based at a large university, and I am not clear on the stages that my cover letter and resume will go through before being evaluated by the person who is responsible for making the hiring decision. It may be that my resume will be directed through HR before even seeing the light of day. Any tips on how best to navigate these conflicts?

    Reply
    • 37. Michael Spiro  |  February 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      Amy:
      The type of cover letter you choose to send depends on how and to whom you are applying. If you are simply applying online to a job posting, then the T-Letter is the best way to start. If, on the other hand, you are sending it directly to a decision maker that you’ve identified in the early childhood center … then your more “personable” approach may be a better choice. Since you seem to be unsure who will see it first — I would assume an HR person will be the first one to look at your letter and resume. If you have a job description with a list of requirements, then by all means send the T-Letter first! You can always follow up later with a more traditional letter to the actual hiring manager once you know who that is and you’ve passed through that first HR gatekeeper stage.
      Michael

      Reply
  • 38. Jobs Requirements 2012  |  June 29, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Very nice write-up. I certainly love this site. Continue the good work!

    Reply
  • 39. Resume for freshers  |  October 12, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Very nice blog post. I absolutely love this site. Thanks!

    Reply
  • 40. Greg Palmer  |  February 16, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Nice job, this is a great way to let the reader know that you have the skills to solve their problems.

    Reply
  • 41. Jim  |  March 13, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    I don’t normally take time to comment on web postings, but I just ran across your article regarding The “T” Cover Letter, and I wanted to simply thank you for sharing this information. I’ve been familiar with the T format for many years, but frankly don’t often use it. Nevertheless, your advice provided an absolutely spot-on view on its value (I’ll definitely use it going forward), as well as other really great tips! Thanks again!

    Reply
  • 42. Nikitasha  |  April 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I don’t think this would be as effective for a recent graduate who may not have as many qualifications to list next to each job requirement.

    Reply
    • 43. Michael Spiro  |  April 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Nikitasha: No offense, but if you really don’t have the qualifications required for a job you are applying for … you probably won’t get much of a response no matter what type of cover letter you use. It’s probably a waste of your time (as well as the time of the person you send it to) applying to a job that has requirements that you do not yet possess because of your inexperience as a recent graduate.

      Reply
  • 44. Ilac  |  May 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Michael,
    I could not agree more with everything you said. I am a recruiter too, and all the facts you mentioned about our methods are so true. In reply to some comments here, if you think about the role of the recruiter and how little time we usually have to go through hundreds of CVs, reality leaves us little choice but learning how to skim through hundreds of documents in a day and be able to extract what we need from them. The T-cover letter might not be a conventional letter, but surely helps your words to be noticed sooner. I do not consider myself a ruthless recruiter, I´d rather say an incredibly-busy-recruiter, I know what I am looking for in a CV, and this chart will tell me straght away. If your cover letter helps me find what I need so easily I can guarantee I will be spending more than 30 seconds reviewing your CV.

    Great advice again. I enjoyed reading it!

    Reply
  • 45. Tracy  |  June 9, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    I like this idea and have been doing something similar but not quite this structured. I will definitely give the T Cover letter a go. Thanks for the template.

    Reply
  • 46. CP  |  June 10, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Any advice on how (or if) to use a T CL when the job posting doesn’t divulge many details?

    Reply
    • 47. Michael Spiro  |  June 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

      CP:
      If there is no job description or list of requirements in the job posting, then how can you know if you are even qualified? You might try calling the company’s department overseeing this position and ask someone if there are any specific requirements for applicants. Or, you could simply send your resume without a cover letter … but that will likely end up in “The Black Hole of HR.”
      -Michael

      Reply
  • 48. Greta  |  June 21, 2013 at 1:50 am

    great advice — I have been struggling with this and appreciate your recommendations.

    Reply
  • 49. Resume Format  |  July 2, 2013 at 8:02 am

    These are great tips. Especially the tip about the ways of sending cover letters. The point of cover letters is to show an employer why they should hire u.

    Reply
  • 50. Sarah  |  July 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Hi, I love this format for a cover letter! I do have a question though. Say a job listing has 8 or 9 job requirements. Would you list them all or just list the most important ones so that it stays to one page. I am trying to apply for this job and I feel very qualified at all the job requirements so I feel hard cutting some out when I can adequately perform all of them.

    Reply
    • 51. Michael Spiro  |  July 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      Sarah:
      It seems that you have 3 choices: 1) Expand the T-Cover Letter chart to include all 8 or 9 job requirements and your matching skills; 2) Choose just the 4 or 5 that seem the most important; or 3) Combine some of the requirements and have fewer but longer bullets. If you really feel that they are all important and distinct, I’d lean towards listing them all and just have the letter be longer. I think any of those formats would work. Hope that is helpful.
      -Michael

      Reply
  • 52. page  |  August 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content for you personally?
    I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome website!

    Reply
    • 53. Michael Spiro  |  August 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      I’m so glad to hear you are finding value in my blog writings! I do not use “guest writers” … however, I’ve certainly had many readers write very elaborate and informative comments that become part of each article I write. I am also always open to suggestions for new topics that I can write about.
      Michael

      Reply
  • 54. John D  |  August 27, 2013 at 3:22 am

    This is a terrific site that’s been a great help as I’ve started my first job hunt since I was fresh out of school.

    One online job posting I’m looking at requires an uploaded resume but has only a (large) text field for a cover letter. Since I have no idea what the formatting of the submission will end up looking like, I can’t use a standard T-letter. Any suggestions for the best approach here?

    Thanks for all the great insights.

    Reply
    • 55. Michael Spiro  |  August 27, 2013 at 9:27 am

      John:
      I’m glad to hear that my blog has been helpful to you in your job search. The answer to your question is easy: use the second template in the article above, which is a plain text version of the “T” Cover Letter designed for the body of an email. Since it has no fancy formatting, using it in the text field of your online application should not be a problem.
      Michael

      Reply
  • 58. John  |  January 18, 2014 at 3:30 am

    I’ve been using this letter and I have been unable to get any resume response with it. I have other people suggesting that I go back to the 3-4 paragraph style. What should I do?

    Reply
    • 59. Michael Spiro  |  January 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      If you truly fit all the requirements for the job you are applying to, then I’ve found that a T-Letter helps your chances of getting a response. On the other hand, if you really don’t fit or are not as strong as other applicants, then no response should be expected no matter what type of cover letter you use. That said, go ahead and try other cover letter styles … use whatever works for you!

      Reply
  • 60. Chris Baker  |  June 24, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Thank you for your insightful words Michael. Still applicable after first writing it four years ago. Much appreciated!
    Chris

    Reply
  • 61. bearcrazyman  |  September 26, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Tried this format this week and Boom, got the first job I applied for. Thanks a million for the insight. :)

    Reply
  • 63. hayday outil de téléchargement Piratage  |  October 3, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I have spent looking for this information! Thanks!

    Reply

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Michael Spiro

About the Author:

Michael Spiro has been a 3rd-Party Recruiter and Account Executive for over 15 years. He is currently the Director of Recruiting / NE Ohio Region for Experis Finance, a dedicated business unit of ManpowerGroup. Other recent positions include President of Midas Recruiting, a boutique head-hunting firm, and Director of Talent at Patina Solutions, a professional services firm that deploys professionals with at least 25 or more years of experience. Prior to that, he worked for two of the largest search firms in North America. Before his career in the staffing industry, Michael was a manager in a large non-profit social-services organization. And in a former life, Michael was active in the entertainment industry, with extensive road-warrior experience as a touring performer (singer-songwriter / guitarist / comedian) and as a recording artist, producer and booking agent.  [More...]

Index (by Topic):

Résumés & Cover Letters:
 The "T" Cover Letter - The
         Only Type Worth Sending

 The Brutal Truth on How
         Résumés Get Eliminated

 Explaining Short Job Stints
         and Employment Gaps

 The Résumé Test &
         Checklist: Does Yours
         Pass?

 Beating the Résumé-
         Elimination Game: Where
         Do Recruiters' Eyes Go?

 The Truth About Lying on
         Résumés

Networking:
 How to Network: A
         Step-by-Step Guide for
         Job Searching

 Looking for Networking in
         All the Wrong Places

 Targeted Networking: How
         to Effectively Reach Out

 The Art of Giving: the Key to
         Effective Networking

Interviewing:
 Face-to-Face Interviews:
         Secrets, Tricks and Tips

 Phone Interviews: Secrets,
         Tricks and Tips

 Skype Interview Tips ...
         Welcome to the Future!

 Nuggets: A Secret
         Interviewing Technique

 Answering the Dreaded
         Salary Question

 20 Surefire Ways to Blow
         an Interview

 "So, Do You Have Any
         Questions?" Nailing the
         Interview Closer

 Cool InfoGraphic: "What
         You Wish You'd Known
         Before Your Job
         Interview"

Age Discrimination:
 Age Discrimination: Secret
         Conversations Revealed

 Age Discrimination:
         Exposing Inconvenient
         Truths

 Are You "Overqualified?"
         Handling the Age Issue

 Baby Boomers to the
         Rescue! An Idea Whose
         Time Has Come ...

 Overcoming Job-Search
         Obstacles and
         Redefining Your Career
         After 50

Switching Jobs:
 The Proper Way to
         Quit a Job

 Counteroffers: Just Say No!

General Job-Seeking Info:
►  Let the Jobs Find You:
         Making Yourself More
         "Searchable"

 "Help ... I Need a Job!" A
         9-Step Guide for Newly
         Minted Job-Seekers

 Contract/Consulting Jobs
         Explained ... Available in
         3 Different Flavors

 The Real Truth About
         Working with Recruiters

 Avoiding the "Black Hole
         of HR"

 Is Your Elevator Pitch
         Taking You UP
         or DOWN?

 Advice for Recent Grads
         and Career-Changers

 Time Management: Recipe          for a Well-Balanced Job          Search
 Getting Un-Stuck from your
         Rut!

 The Double-Whammy of
         Rejection and Isolation

 "Unemployed Need Not
         Apply" - Working Around
         This Scary Message

 Using Social Media to
         Enhance Job-Searching

 Warning: That Rant You
         Posted Just Went Viral!

 The Golden Rule: Never
         Burn Bridges

 The Power of a Positive
         Attitude

 Why Job Hunting is a
         Consultative Sales
         Position

 Top 10 Most Helpful Things
         for Job Seekers

 Top 10 Most Annoying
         Things for Job Seekers

 New Year's Resolutions for
         Unemployed Job-
         Seekers

Job-Seeking Humor:
 Comic Relief: Volume 1
 Comic Relief: Volume 2
 Comic Relief: Volume 3
 Comic Relief: Volume 4
 Comic Relief: Volume 5
 Comic Relief: Volume 6
 "In Transition" and Other
         Awkward Euphemisms

 Candidates Gone Wild:
         Recruiter Horror Stories

Share This Blog:

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Job Opportunities:

Click below to see job opportunities listed through the author’s company, Midas Recruiting:

Blog Visitor Count:

  • 537,629 hits

Recent Posts:

Previous Posts (by Date):

►  Are You "Overqualified?"
      Handling The Age Issue ...

------------------------------------------
►  Comic Relief: Job-Seeking
      Humor - Volume 4

------------------------------------------
►  "Unemployed Need Not Apply" -
      Working Around This Scary
      Message

------------------------------------------
►  Explaining Short Stints and
      Employment Gaps

------------------------------------------
►  The Lost Art of Customer
      Service: Unreturned Phone
      Calls & Emails

------------------------------------------
►  Comic Relief: Job-Seeking
      Humor - Volume 3

------------------------------------------
►  The Résumé Test & Checklist:
      Does Yours Pass?

------------------------------------------
►  The "T" Cover Letter -
      The Only Type Worth Sending

------------------------------------------
►  The Brutal Truth on how
      Résumés Get Eliminated

------------------------------------------
►  Comic Relief: Job-Seeking
      Humor - Volume 2

------------------------------------------
►  Age Discrimination: Exposing
      Inconvenient Truths

------------------------------------------
►  The Double-Whammy of
      Rejection and Isolation

------------------------------------------
►  Is Your “Elevator Pitch” Taking
      You UP or DOWN?

------------------------------------------
►  Comic Relief: Job-Seeking
      Humor - Volume 1

------------------------------------------
►  Warning: That Rant You
      Posted Just Went Viral!

------------------------------------------
►  Using Social Media to Enhance
      Job-Searching

------------------------------------------
►  Avoiding the “Black Hole
      of HR”

------------------------------------------
►  “In Transition” and Other
      Awkward Euphemisms

------------------------------------------
►  Getting Un-Stuck from
      your Rut!

------------------------------------------
►  Time Management: Recipe for a
      Well-Balanced Job Search

------------------------------------------
►  Face-to-Face Interviews:
      Secrets, Tips and Tricks

------------------------------------------
►  Counteroffers: Just Say No!
------------------------------------------
►  The Proper Way to Quit a Job
------------------------------------------
►  The Real Truth About Working
      with Recruiters

------------------------------------------
►  Phone Interviews:
      Secrets, Tricks and Tips

------------------------------------------
►  The Golden Rule: Never Burn
      Bridges

------------------------------------------
►  Candidates Gone Wild:
      Recruiter Horror Stories

------------------------------------------
►  Following-Up: An Essential
      Key to Success

------------------------------------------
►  Nuggets: A Secret Interviewing
      Technique

------------------------------------------
►  New Year’s Resolutions for
      Unemployed Job-Seekers

------------------------------------------
►  How to Network: A Step-by-
      Step Guide for Job-Searching

------------------------------------------
►  Top 10 Most Helpful Things for
      Job-Seekers

------------------------------------------
►  Top 10 Most Annoying Things
      for Job-Seekers

------------------------------------------
►  Age Discrimination: Secret
      Conversations Revealed!

------------------------------------------
►  The Art of Giving: The Key to
      Effective Networking

------------------------------------------
►  Targeted Networking: How to
      Effectively Reach Out

------------------------------------------
►  Why Job Hunting is a
      Consultative Sales Position

------------------------------------------
►  The Power of a Positive
      Attitude

------------------------------------------
►  Looking for Networking in
      All the Wrong Places

------------------------------------------
►  Answering the Dreaded Salary
      Question

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