How To Target Your Cover Letter To The Job

Elizabeth Witbeck

How To Target Your Cover Letter To The Job

When you are applying for jobs, it is easy to think that you can just write a great cover letter once, then copy and paste it, and send it into all of the businesses that you want to apply to. You stand a much better chance of getting hired if you write a customized cover letter for each position. In this article, we discuss how to write a cover letter tailored for a specific company.

Greet the Hiring Manager

In the beginning of your cover letter, you should greet the person who is in charge of hiring. In many job postings, it will say specifically who your job application should be directed towards. Other times, no such information is given, which makes this a bit more of a research endeavor. You may be able to find information about the management of the company by calling, or by visiting their website.

It is important to state in the beginning of the letter “Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. ____________” followed by the name of the hiring manager. This way the manager knows that your job application was truly intended for them. It leaves a good impression on the employer that you are addressing your cover letter to them specifically. Do not write “To Whom It May Concern” or something similar.

Note that the cover letter does not have to be directed to the exact person you will be reporting to. If the job posting did not say who to write a cover letter to, it is okay to write it to one of many managers in the company. You can address the cover letter to human resources, if that is available, or the owner of the company, or one of the managers. Use your best judgement in deciding who best to address the letter to.

Why do you want to work at this company?

You want to use your cover letter to explain to the hiring manager what it is about that specific company that you like so much. Why do you want to work for that business, out of all the possible opportunities? This is important to include in your cover letter. Many job applicants send similar cover letters to every company, not even taking time to research the business they are applying to. An employer wants to know that you are passionate about the work that they do and you will be loyal to the team.

You might write about how your aunt has been a manager at the company for many years and her love of her job persuaded you to apply. You could write about how you have interned there for the past two summers, and are interested in obtaining a full time position. Another idea is mentioning how you have always been a big fan of the company, if that is the truth. If you use their products or services, be sure to mention that. You can talk about your years of experience in the industry, and how you think that this business is a good next step for your career.

There may be times when you will be tempted to send a job application into a company, and you have no idea why you want to work for them specifically. You might be at the stage of your job application process where you would be fine with any job, anywhere. That is fine.

It is always better to apply for a small handful of jobs that you are truly excited about, than it is to send your applications into hundreds of openings that you aren’t really all that interested in. It is important to earn a paycheck, but what truly makes us happy is doing a job that we love.

How do your skills and experiences make you a great match? Why should I hire you?

Your resume is a chronological listing of your experiences, skills, and education. In your cover letter, you get to tell a story with all of that information. A cover letter talks about your skills and experiences in depth, and how they relate to the position being offered. Be sure to look at the job position you are applying for and the responsibilities required. Think of ways in which your experience relates to the specific job.

If the job is a managerial role, think of times you have led a team before, and describe those in your cover letter. If the job requires being a freelancer and working from home, describe work from home positions you have had in the past, and how you thrive in an independent role. The employer will want to see past experiences you have had, your skills you have, and how they will benefit this specific role.

Be sure to mention your accomplishments that you have had in past jobs. Many people write filler words in their cover letter, such as “I’m reliable” “I work well on a team” “I am a good communicator.” Firstly, those are all traits that are to be expected – your manager expects you to be reliable, so you don’t get bonus points for showing up to work on time. Also, they aren’t accomplishments, and they don’t talk about anything that you achieved while on the job.

You need to talk about the specific things that you have achieved, which are relatable to the position you are applying for. Accomplishments can be quantitative: “I grew our sales by 100% during my three years with the company” “I helped bring in $300,000 in donations for our fundraiser.” Accomplishments can also be qualitative: “I was nominated Employee of the Year.” “Customers repeatedly commented on how wonderful I made their day.” These types of things are what employers want to see.

By tailoring your cover letter, you will help yourself stand out in a crowded field. It’s important to convey to the employer your passion for their specific company and job role. Best of luck in your job search.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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