I have been asked enough times to take note that technology and communication makes people nervous. I have realized as of late, people are bit apprehensive about what technological advancements are doing to face-to-face communication. For example: “Is music like the ‘LOL song” what we have to look forward to from here on out? Can we continue to expect text message language will become a mainstay in email communication? My answer is typically something along the lines of: “Traditional face-to-face communication is never going to go out of style. What we now need to do is determine how all forms of communication can peacefully co-exist.” That being my stock answer, I stand behind it 100%; however, I would like to offer a friendly amendment to the million dollar question: Is Technology Making Us “Communication-ily” Challenged? At this time, I want to say yes it is.
Now you might be telling yourself, this can’t be, but really — I think technology has contributed to a extreme lack in decorum and this means we are likely to interact with individuals in such s way as to assume a level of familiarity that does not actually exist. Well, this means, frequently individuals forget decorous — or appropriate — communication behaviors in very crucial moments.
For example, during the most recent hiring process I participated, I found myself reading really horrible cover letters. Now I know email is nearly passe, and people quickly “shoot” emails to folks all day long, but I think cover letters — whether in the text of an email or an attachment — are still a viable option when applying to a professional position. This is so for a number of reasons.
1. You illustrate an understanding of the position and organization. Although it may be tempting to quickly move to the important “stuff about you,” it’s also a professional courtesey to to include that you are applying for a specific position and how you can to know about it. Frequently hiring mangers keep internal records about that information to know where to publicize vacant positions in the future. In other words, it starts you on good footing. Also, you want to let your potential employer know that you did a little research to learn about the organization. (This is also a good spot to “name drop” if you can.)
2. Individuals provide a sample of their writing by submitting a fully developed cover letter. Employment reviewers can get a very clear sense of who you are, what you know and — most importantly — what you have to offer. This is the reason why so companies open positions up to their internal audiences prior to the general job search population. Those already on there part of the organization in any capacity have “insider information.” If that’s not you, then you should do a little searching and articulate in your letter.
3. You speak beyond the resume: Because the resume highlights your employment history, the cover letter should compliment that by identifying how what you bring to the table is relevant and will be relevant in the future.
So, I can’t imagine this is new information for many job seekers. The question is: Is technology making us communication-ily challenged in the case of the cover letter?