As you read advice about cover letters from professional resources, you may notice a recurring theme: writing a cover letter that is tailored to the job you’re applying for and speaks directly to a hiring manager. Cover letter examples that have worked well in the past are always specific to the job they’re targeting.
While that sounds like great advice, what does it really mean? How do you personalize a cover letter so that it grabs the attention of a hiring manager? Writing a cover letter that is customized for the job you want takes some research and time, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Include the Hiring Manager’s Name
If you are responding to an employment advertisement, then it may include a hiring manager’s name listed that you can use.
If there is no hiring manager’s name or you are working on a employment lead that you developed, then you can call the company to get the name of the hiring manager who should get your resume. That hiring manager’s name should show up in the salutation as well as the address at the top of the letter.
Refer Directly to the Position You Are Applying For
Be sure to include the title of the position you’re applying for, and why you’re qualified to fill that position.
In some cases, you will only have general information about the position you are applying for, but that is not enough to allow you to properly personalize a cover letter. If you don’t have enough information on hand, all or email the company and find out the exact title of the position you are applying for and then put that title in your cover letter.
Talk About How You Can Benefit the Company Directly
Did the company you are applying to recently transition to a software platform that you are very familiar with? If so, then you need to enhance your cover letter by referring to that software platform and pointing out your experience with it.
The internet can be your friend when it comes to finding news articles and information about the company you are apply to. Use that information to build your cover letter. Find something about the company that you can directly reference in your cover letter that will enhance your qualifications.
Include Any Referrals
If you were referred by a current employee of the company who has given you permission to use their name, then put that in your cover letter.
Referrals are powerful.
Employment candidates who are referred by current employees sometimes get their resumes read ahead of the other candidates simply because the company trusts its own employees to send the best possible candidates.
Offering Options for a Personal Interview
One aspect about writing a cover letter that is job-specific is that people sometimes forget is to finish the letter with an appropriate option for a personal interview. If the company is across the country, then putting in a generic statement in the cover letter about coming in for a personal interview is useless. Instead, include your Skype username and offer to do a video interview to help make the process easier on the company.
When you’re writing a cover letter, you’re more likely to get a hiring manager’s attention if you’re clear about how your expertise can benefit the position in question. By following these steps, you can easily tailor each cover letter to the job you’re applying for and set yourself up for success.