A year ago Fortune asked “Are we killing off the cover letter?” The answer, at least according to the survey the article references, is a resounding yes.
Earlier though, Ruby on Rails creator and 37Signals partner David Heinemeier Hansson insisted, “A great resume will get you not-rejected, a great cover letter will get you hired.”
But compared to the “Resume: Love ‘em or Leave ‘em” controversy, the cover letter discussion comes down as more Solomonic. Four years ago, ERE’s founder and chairman David Manaster analyzed the relevance of the cover letter in the (then)-still-dawning age of social recruiting, summing it up this way:
To a large degree, the cover letter vs. social media debate is like discussing the merits of the hammer vs. the screwdriver. Different situations call for different tools, and often both are necessary.
Today, we focus on the screwdriver. InternMatch is hosting Kill The Cover Letter day. It’s an attention-getting pronouncement, but fitting for in this case the companies that won’t be accepting a cover letter (though they will a resume) are looking for interns for their social media programs.
Reprising the event from last year, InternMatch, itself a startup, expects to host up to about 50 other startup or early stage companies which want to see creativity and social media smarts from applicants. No cover letter (obviously); tweets only to apply. And not a lot of words in those tweets (as if you could, anyway). Rules say to send links to favorite blogs, to a portfolio or resume (the resume still lives!), and a handful of other stuff.
Later in the day, at 3 p.m. PDT, there’s a panel on Google Hangouts of social media pros and recruiters from Google, Oglivey and Mather, and elsewhere to talk about what it takes to get a job in social media and how to manage your social media brand.