Cover letters--staple or not?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Gazpacho, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,330
    Such a minor detail, but I don't want to get on the bad side of an anal hiring person.

    The position I'm applying for asks for a "one- to two- page cover letter describing your qualifications and interest in the position" in addition to a resume and other supporting documents.

    If the cover letter is two pages and printed on nice paper, are you supposed to staple it?
  2. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2003
    Messages:
    2,487
    Giving that the hiring person will be looking at 100 - 200 other resumes, my advice would be yes. It decreases the chances of your two page letter being separated for whatever reason at their work station.

    Also, consider the possibility of sending a resume to them in an electronic (pdf or word doc) format as well.
  3. mag

    mag Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2006
    Messages:
    6,973
    I've always thought it was strange to staple a letter together, that said, when I was in HR and going through hundreds of letters and resumes I always had my secretary staple everything together when she opened the mail so nothing would be lost.

    I would go with the practical and staple, but make sure you print your letter and resume on nice thick paper - not cheap photocopy paper. It just looks and feels better. If the recruiter is reading late at night (I always seemed to do that) it is easier to see a clear 12 point font on good paper.

    As far as sending an electronic copy, good idea; however, send a PDF, not a Word document. The formatting on Word documents sometimes gets messed up and it doesn't make a good impression. I know the version of Windows I'm using (2007) allows me to save as PDF so it is really easy.
  4. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    4,235
    I think the staple is okay, but I'd like to throw in my two cents.

    One of my sidelines is acting as a manager for opera singers, and I have to go through cover letters and resumes all the time. If your requirement is a "one OR two page cover letter," I suggest getting it on one page if at all possible.

    Possible hirers like a succinct, easy-to-read letter (and resume, for that matter) on ONE page. Long letters and resumes often don't really get read by the very person you want to impress. If it's at all possible to send the cover letter on one page, I think it would be in your favor.

    Good luck to you!
  5. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2003
    Messages:
    7,498
    I took the middle road and paperclipped mine. :)
  6. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    25,850
    I was always told that HR likes everything short and sweet. A two-page cover letter? Wow.
  7. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    6,022
    If you've honed your elevator pitch, a one page cover letter should suffice. All you need is the elevator pitch, paragraph describing why you're uniquely qualified, paragraph describing why you're so exited about the job/company, two sentences on what you want to happen next. Don't forget to include EXACT words that are in the posting/ad.

    Big companies and companies that outsource their initial screenings scan. Most include the words "don't staple" in their instructions. Essence of Soy has the right idea for everything else... keep it together.
  8. Angelskates

    Angelskates Active Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2004
    Messages:
    12,791
    I think one page, or if it's two, double sided. But I'd never read two.
  9. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2001
    Messages:
    4,749
    One other bit of advice....
    I always send my resume/cover letter in an envelope 8 1/2 x 11 - this way it is not folded. When I have hired and received lots of paper (before email), it was a pain having all the documents folded in 3 and pressing the pile down. I received one in the large envelope unfolded and thought - great. Envelopes and postage are a little big more, but worth it.