A Cover Letter Has No Point If You Don't Tailor It Specifically to the Targeted Job


Continuing our series excerpted from our new, free white paper, Cover Letter Reboot: A Crowdsourced Update of Traditional Cover-letter Advice for Today’s Job Search, which you can download here. If you prefer not to download, you can read the contents here. WhitePaperScreenshot.jpg Tailoring your cover letter very specifically to the targeted job is still and always the way to go; if you don’t, the cover letter has no point.

Nothing has changed in my long-standing advice that a cover letter cannot be a canned or generic form letter, but written specifically for each job you target. “It’s really obvious when an applicant has written one cover letter that they use for all jobs,” says Jessica Oman, owner/CEO of Write Ahead Consulting, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Generic letters that show no understanding of the targeted job are among the biggest annoyances hiring decision-makers mentioned. This tailoring is one of the most fundamental reasons cover letters even exist. They answer the questions: “Why are you sending me your resume, and why should I consider you for this specific job?”

These days, employers also expect resumes to be specifically targeted to each job, but it’s usually not difficult to make just a few tweaks in a boilerplate resume to tailor it to a given job. The cover letter should go much further in showing the job-seeker has researched the organization and the job. “It actually irks me when job-seekers seem to have not taken the time to know more about the company,” says Yoel Calek, owner/director at Strategic Minds. “Form letters with no research behind them that lack basic information about the role or the company … go to the bottom right away,” Mike Sprouse adds. See also the other parts of the white paper/Cover Letter Reboot package: Cover Letter Wish List: Hiring Decision-Makers Reveal What They Want to See in Cover Letters, Hiring Decision-Makers Cite Top Cover-Letter Mistakes that Disqualify Job-Seekers, and Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters.