How To Write a Customized Cover Letter

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It can be time-consuming to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply for, but it's important to take the time and effort to show the company why you are a good match.  Here's how to customize your cover letter when applying for a job.

How To Personalize Your Cover Letter

Look for the Hiring Manager
When it comes to cover letters, taking the time to get personal is really important. Find out as much as you can about the company and the hiring manager.

Personalize your cover letter and, if you can, address it to the individual responsible for hiring. If need be, research online or make a phone call to find out who the hiring manager is.

Mention Who You Know
If you know someone at the company, mention their name in your cover letter. Name dropping works - your cover letter will get a closer look if it mentions someone who works at the company. That's important both from your perspective and from the employee's, especially if the company has an Employee Referral Program and is eligible for a bonus.

As an aside, be sure to ask your contact if they can recommend you for the job and help get your cover letter and resume a closer look from the hiring manager.

Mention How You Learned About the Job

Mention how you learned about the job in the first paragraph of your cover letter. The company wants to know how the job was sourced, especially when you found the listing on a job board or other site where they paid to post.

That sentence can simply say, for example, "I learned of this position from the posting I read on Monster."

Take it one step further and mention something about the company, from the mission statement on the company website, for example, in your cover letter.

Showcase Your Qualifications

Employers typically won't even consider a candidate who doesn't appear to be qualified at first glance.

That first glance at your cover letter is your one opportunity to make a good impression and make it to the next round. In order to pass that first round of screening, you must specifically address the job ad and state why you are qualified for the position

To write a custom cover letter, take the job posting and list the criteria the employer is looking for. Then list the skills and experience you have. Either address how your skills match the job in paragraph form or list the criteria and your qualifications.

Here's more on how to match your qualifications to a job description.

Include Skills and Results

Also include skill, results and recognition keywords in your cover letter to increase your chances of getting selected for an interview. Here's a list of skills for resumes and cover letters you can use to get suggestions for your own application materials.

This way, the hiring manager can see, at a glance, why and how you're qualified for the job. Here's how to write a cover letter in five simple steps.

Customized Cover Letter Example

The follow is a cover letter example which is focused on a career change and the skills required for the advertised position, in the field of sales and communications.

Your Contact Information
Address
City, State, Zip Code
Phone Number
Cell Phone Number
Email

Employer Contact Information

Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Date

Dear Mr./Ms. LastName

I am applying for the Inside Sales position posted on Boston.Monster.com. At your convenience, I'd appreciate the opportunity to discuss the position and my candidacy with you. You can find my resume attached to this e-mail.

I am looking to bring my well-honed public relations, marketing, and client-focused online, oral, and interpersonal communication skills internally to succeed in an inside sales position.

Pertinent experience and skills for the posted position include:

  • The power of persuasion. I’ve pitched stories for C-level executives via phone and e-mail and placed them in major media outlets, such as MSNBC, CIO Magazine, Sirius Satellite Radio, MSN Money, AARP Bulletin, and The New York Daily News.
  • The ability to reach key audiences. As a journalist, I published stories in key print and online media, including CareerJournal.com, CollegeJournal.com and StartupJournal.com (online publications of The Wall Street Journal), Consumers Digest, Woman's Day, and ePregnancy Magazine. As a copywriter, my work has been used in e-mail marketing, online and offline advertisements, blogs, brochures, taglines, and web sites.
  • Strong financial aptitude. My experience includes a little over a decade in the accounting profession in external and internal client-facing environments.
  • With a B.S. in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University, and a Minor in Management Information Systems, I have have the hard skills required to succeed in a sales role.
  • Strong computer skills. I am experienced in both Microsoft and Mac software, and also have a basic-level familiarity with HTML, CSS, and digital design.
  • I bring a variety of personal skills that will ensure success in this role: I am a good listener with a solid work ethic and an insistent desire to excel. I have a proven ability to meet deadlines without fail, and enjoy a fast-paced environment. I'm also a fast loarder with extraordinary factual recall.

​I'd love to find out more about the position you're looking to fill, and I would welcome the opportunity to tell you how my skills and ideas can benefit Wellesley Information Services. I can be reached at (555) 555-5555 or name@gmail.com.

Thanks for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sincerely,

Your Signature (hard copy letter)

Your Typed Name

More About How to Write Targeted Cover Letters
It's certainly easier to write generic or blanket cover letters than it is to write a cover letter specifically targeted to each position you apply for. Here's how to write custom cover letters that work.

Cover Letter Tips
More Cover letter writing tips and suggestions for writing cover letters to send with your resume, including cover letter samples and examples.

Cover Letter Examples
When applying for a job a cover letter should be sent or posted with your resume. If you are not sure what to write, review these cover letter samples.

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