Seriously.  Seth just put out the idea that cover letters don’t matter,  and I’m going to have to disagree with him.  Completely.  And, well, utterly.  Redundantly, too boot.  Here’s the thing.  I’m not looking for a brilliant cover letter (love them – yes; need them – no), but I am looking for someone who’s specific about the company they’re applying for.  A canned cover letter tells me the person simply wants a paycheck, they don’t care from who, and they’re going to put in the minimum effort to get there.  He talks about the great programmer who isn’t the best at self-marketing, but who’d terrific at what he/ she does – that’s fine, but shouldn’t the person care about what types of products they’ll be working on and the company they’ll be joining?  A great programmer wants to make great stuff – they’ll be specific about who they want to work for, and won’t spam their resume to every opening listed on Indeed or Craigs.  It doesn’t need to be poetry (still waiting for someone to get up the nerve to try that), but when they apply, I’m looking for “I have a strong background working in a .Net environment, have great references, and am highly interested in working on ZoomInfo’s product line, which I find to be really interesting.”  That’s it – no need to get all prosaic felicitous in your writing (hat tip to my proud – and seemingly inevitable – “public” editor, The Recruiting Animal).