Personalize Cover Letter and Show What You Can Do for Employer


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 In this part of the series, we asked hiring decision-makers what they look for in a cover letter. We conclude with these decision-maker responses: [I want to see] evidence that the applicant has read the job description and attempted to describe how their skills match the required duties. If I see they’ve made an effort to address specific job requirements and shown how their skills transfer, I am much more likely to call them in for an interview. The cover letter is intended to tell me why the applicant a) wants and b) would be good at the position. It’s my only window into who they are as an individual. I need this in order to make a decision about whether to interview.

— Jessica Oman, owner/CEO, Write Ahead Consulting, Vancouver, BC, Canada

I look for the candidate to first and foremost present a positive and confident, but not cocky, image of himself or herself. I also like to see how the candidate feels he or she can help me and/or my client personally, so taking the time to tailor the cover letter to me and my needs or job description is a big plus in my eyes.

— Shilonda Downing, founder, Virtual Work Team

Cover letters are appealing if they are personalized and show that the author of the letter has done their homework on me, the company and/or the role. General form letters need not apply.

Mike Sprouse, chief marketer, entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist See all the 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.