A recent article from HRDive asked this question and here is our take on it from Marcy Whelan, Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant.
On average there are 200+ resumes received for each corporate job opening. According to a recent study by BeHiring, due in part to sheer volume recruiters spend just 5-7 seconds per resume. Obviously, this only allows a recruiter to quickly scan (but not to read) a resume. Cover letters are often overlooked. Grabbing recruiters’ attention quickly and keeping it is more important than ever. So where do you spend your time and energy when it comes to putting your best foot forward on paper? In lieu of a cover letter, I recommend that candidates focus on a profile or summary paragraph at the top over your resume. The strategy here is to tell your professional story quickly and concisely!
The profile/summary paragraph should be no more than ONE paragraph describing where you have been in your career, where you are looking to take your career and ultimately what excites and motivates you. Recruiters need a quick hit. A statement that grabs their attention and gives them reason to keep reading well into your experience is the name of the game. Keeping in mind recruiters are looking for a reason to stay engaged along the way. You can never go wrong with keeping the “story” portion of your resume brief and captivating. Once you have a strong intro, leverage impactful and relevant experience along with quantifiable/measurable accomplishments to keep your audience reading.