How to Personally Tailor a Cover Letter

Ah, the classic cover letter.  If you don’t have at least some sort of template for one of these typed up, then you are nowhere near ready to embark on the job application process.  However, there is something very crucial to remember about these original templates you create – never send them out without meticulously personalizing them to the job/company you are applying to.

Once you have the basic form of your cover letter set up, do not forget to go over these essential points:

Who are you sending this to? This is not in reference to the company.  It means who specifically will be receiving and reading this initially?  Scan the job posting and/or Careers section of the company website to try to find the name of the person you will be sending this to.  Sometimes it will be easy since the application prompt may instruct you to email your materials to [Insert Name Here] at [Insert Email Address Here].  But other times, it will just give you a generic email with no name attached to it.  Depending on the type of company, it may be okay to call and ask who receives the applications.  But if not, you will just be stuck without a name to address it to and in that case, always use “To Whom It May Concern.”

What are the responsibilities of this job? Never fail to acknowledge your understanding of what this role entails.  It is your responsibility in this cover letter to prove why your experience matches the duties of this job, so going on and on about general accomplishments that don’t necessarily relate to the position will not help you.  You must filter out the impressive things you’ve done that prove you are qualified specifically for what you are applying for.

What does this company do? Conduct your background research and let the reader of this letter know that you are fully aware of what their company does.  Explaining why you’re a match for the job is great, but without demonstrating a clear understanding of what this company is all about, your self-sales pitch is not complete.  Going into some details about why you admire this organization and the aspects of it that attracted you to apply will set you apart.  Otherwise, you are selling the cover letter short of its personalized touch and subsequently selling yourself short as well.

If you thoroughly cover all these areas while confidently marketing yourself as the best candidate out there, you will have one well-presented cover letter.  Just don’t forget to double-check everything.  The worst mistake you could make is getting the title of the position wrong or leaving in the name of a different company you applied to yesterday.  Those kinds of typos are unfixable, so do your best to get it all right the first time!