The Art of Customizing Cover Letters
Many jobseekers feel that a cover letter is unnecessary – when in reality it is the first eye-catching document that attempts to sell and invite the reader to want to keep on reading. A semi-generic cover letter can open jobseekers to more opportunities, but one that is customized towards a specific position will certainly be effective in targeting a specific role within a certain industry.
These are guidelines to ensuring a perfectly customized cover letter:
Ensure that the cover letter is currently dated and addressed to the correct person with a name whether it is hiring manager or recruiter.
Keep design, formatting, and style in résumé consistent with cover letter.
Start with a catchy introduction to grab the reader’s attention. Skip the outdated lines such as “Please accept this cover letter and résumé for the position of…”
Indicate why you are applying for that particular company or organization- is it your passion, expertise – what can you do to meet the strategic goals of that company? Show that you have done your research and that you are well-suited for the position.
Align the requirements of the position with your expertise. Show how you meet the criteria of the employer through bulleted points or a paragraph showcasing your achievements.
Show how your experience and education matches with the experience sought by the employer and what you can do for the employer – what is your unique value proposition – what sets you apart from other candidates vying for the same position?
A cover letter that emphasizes not only achievements, but skills and strengths that the employer require, which will demonstrate that the candidate is an amicable fit.
Include a quote if possible from a reference to boost credibility at the end or beginning.
Do not forget to balance qualitative and quantitative information.
Complete the letter with a call to action or intended follow up and show interest in arranging a face to face meeting. Restate your contact information where you can be reached. Indicate one phone number that is accessible for the prospective employer to ensure consistency.
Other Tips to Remember:
Ensure that your brand statement in the résumé matches your cover letter. A bulleted format in a cover letter to emphasize skills or a few career highlights related to the position applied for is effective. Highlighting three core skills that the position calls for and then going into more detail is quite invaluable. Whatever format you use, be professional, polished, and concise in the beginning, the body of the cover letter and the closing. The point of the cover letter is to encourage the prospective employer to want to keep reading the cover letter, review the résumé, and then invite you for an interview. The cover letter is much a vital marketing tool as the résumé.