We always stress why it’s so important to customize your cover letter, and hope that the members of our community apply to opportunities with our advice in mind.
We recently spoke with a recruiter about this very topic – here’s what they had to say:
One recurring theme from job board sites is the stock cover letter. (Sad face.) Showing that you read the description and checked out the company by mentioning anything about them in the cover letter (save for reusing copy from our website – which actually happens) remains the #1 way to land at least a phone interview. There were so many more people that I would have called back if only… Just wanted to share that tidbit…!
Straight from the recruiter! “There were so many more people that I would have called back if only…”
It’s imperative that your cover letter shows you’ve read the job description and understand it. Otherwise, why should they spend their time interviewing someone who they can’t tell has a true interest in the opportunity and the company?
Here are some basics:
You may have a really great cover letter that you’ve used for a previous application. Glance at it. Figure out why it’s an effective cover letter. But don’t change it to “look” like it’s for this new job. Make an effort to write a brand new letter from scratch. Yes, it’s more work, especially if you’re applying to multiple positions, but isn’t it worth it?
Rule of three.
There are many ways to build your resume, but one way is to break it into three sections.
- Introduction – Who you are, what are you applying for, and anything else notable and important.
- Body – Mention the components of the opportunity that you are applying for and why you are the best applicant for this position. Use specific experiences you’ve had at previous jobs, and why they make you relevant to this new opportunity. Explain why you would be a good fit for the role. Don’t just say you’re a fan of the company – prove that you are the best person for this position and explain WHY you love the company — not just that you do.
- Sum it up – Bring together everything you’ve mentioned and leave the reader with a clear and concise reason to hire you.
Keep It Simple, Silly! The recruiter will be sifting through tons of applications. Make their job easier by keeping your letter brief. Get all the important information on one page. The less they have to read while also gaining the most insight about you, the better your chances of being noticed. No one wants to read essays.
Do you have any cover letter stories or experiences you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!