How To Tailor Your Cover Letter To Different Companies

Career Tip of the Day: Tailor Your Cover Letter

Most job seekers include a laundry list of job duties and responsibilities rather than focusing on their accomplishments. Job duties are generally generic and standard for everyone in the same position, but your accomplishments are uniquely yours. If the employer interviews 10 sales associates, they will all have the same job duties, but you may be the only one who increased sales by 25% and was awarded salesperson of the month. So, focus less on what you did every day and more on what you actually accomplished. Employers will notice the difference.

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We all know it: With millions out of work, employers get hoards of emails in response to job listings and opportunities. Knowing this, it’s always good to find a way to make your resume and cover letter stand out. There are small tweaks that can really grab the attention of a human resources director, recruiter or executive, and one big one is tailoring your cover letter. Templates have always been great foundations to professionally portray your qualifications and interest in an opportunity, but tailoring your cover letter for an employer at your dream company could give you that extra leg up.

Here are quick ways to do that:

Specifically reference the company, its latest endeavors and what you can offer that company. Don’t forget to include the company’s name and the position you are applying for very clearly.

Address your cover letter to the correct hiring manager or executive. Be sure his/her title and the spelling of his/her name are correct.

If you were referred by someone who works for or with the company, mention it. This can be a definite plus and lets the employer know you’re familiar with the company and its brand.

Follow the directions of the specific listing. If the listing says to include the name of the position in the subject line of your e-mail, by all means, do that. If it says to send resumes to a specific person or e-mail address, it might not be a good idea to just blast the whole staff.

If possible, be creative. A Black Enterprise intern once created a bio page that looked like a section of the magazine. She went on to become a full-time employee.