Jesse Singal at New York‘s Science of Us makes a convincing argument for killing the cover letter and résumé:
No job applicant has ever enjoyed the process of assembling a decent cover letter and résumé. There’s the endless scanning for errors and out-of-date information, the pointless attempts to make your materials stand out (are you “well-qualified” for the job, or just “qualified”? “Enthusiastic” or “very enthusiastic”?), and the overall soul-crushing feeling that comes from knowing your application will likely end up in a pile of hundreds of others that look just about identical to it. Employers aren’t fans, either — anyone who has waded through a stack of the things understands how exhausting it is to try to sift fact from fiction, qualification from “qualification.” Despite all of this, the system has been entrenched for a while now. It’s just how it’s done.
Now, though, researchers have finally built up enough solid science about human decision-making to confirm a belief held by many on both sides of the hiring equation: It’s time for the résumé and the cover letter to die.