Cover Letters

Tailored Cover Letters

Write a tailored cover letter for every job application you submit. Why? Because every job is different as is every employer. Your cover letter is where you can communicate to the employer; your interest in the position, the organization and what background and experience you bring that is relevant to the job. The job description, written by the employer, is your key to how to write your cover letter. Take time to analyze the job description and identify the key responsibilities, skills and qualifications. Compare your background to these points. If there are aspects of the job you have not handled in the past, don’t mention them. Focus on the areas where you have applicable experiences or skills to talk about.

Key Words and Terminology

Take note of the terminology used in the job description. Be sure to use the same terminology when describing your background and experience. Many employers will use applicant tracking systems (computer programs) to review your cover letter and resume. If the key words and terminology used in the job description are not there, it is very possible your resume will not be noticed by the computer and never seen by a human!

Research the Employer

Spend time researching the employer, and the department where the job is located so you can understand the culture and the work. You want to be able to convey to the employer that you will be a good fit for both the job and organization. Start with the employer’s website and LinkedIn pages. Also, research the person who may currently hold the job or may have held the job in the past. Look at their LinkedIn profile. You will see how they describe the work which will give you clues about how to describe your background.

Get to the Hiring Manager

Address your letter to the hiring manager. You may have to do some research to find out who that is. If you can’t find the name of the person, but know the title, send your cover letter and resume in the mail to that title. The company address will be on the company’s website. Remember the purpose of the cover letter to is enable the employer to imagine you in the job. You want to market yourself to them. While you may include one or two lines about why you want to work for this employer, the cover letter is not about what you will get from the job. It is about what the employer will get from you.