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How To Tailor Your Resume And Cover Letter

May 11, 2023
5 min read
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Businesses spend billions of dollars annually to improve their brand identity and image. Chief executive officers want the public to recognize their company's brand with little effort. 

This requires spending significant time developing marketing materials for use both online and in print to disseminate the company's vision, mission, and reputation. Professional success necessitates the same kind of investment in personal brand identity.

The cover letter is the first step in establishing your best image and brand. The cover letter serves as the hiring manager's "door-opener," "conversation-starter," and point of contact. 

While talking about your elevator pitch, career counselors often reference your cover letter. As opposed to resumes, interviews, or job applications, cover letters are what recruiters use to get a general sense of a candidate's personality.

Many job seekers know how important it is to write personalized cover letters and spend countless hours coming up with creative sentences and listing their most valuable assets. Still, they rarely think about customizing their cover letters to meet the specific needs of the position they are applying for. 

If candidates submit generic materials for all jobs, their chances of getting an interview are significantly reduced. For this reason, it is essential to craft a cover letter that highlights your experience and skills in a way that is specific to the work the reader applies.

Why Tailor?

Employers frequently rely on software to select the best candidates by scanning resumes, cover letters, and even LinkedIn profiles for keywords. Other companies, on the other hand, conduct keyword searches manually. You risk being overlooked if your submitted materials do not include the keywords they seek.

Also, tailoring your resume and cover letter means you're ensuring there are no errors, especially grammar, format, and contents. Thankfully, there are AI writing assistants like WordHero to help you double-check your work.

Here are a few tips to help you create a personalized cover letter without becoming overwhelmed by the job search process.

Introductory paragraph

All cover letters must begin with an introduction. Cover letters should include information from the job description relevant to the position you are applying for. Put aside any attempts at a personal greeting (i.e., "I hope this letter finds you well," "Hope all is well," etc.). 

These private communications are sloppy and lack professionalism. Make sure your opening paragraph focuses on the content and structure of your cover letter.

Start with relevant skills and abilities.

Candidates for open positions should match the job description as closely as possible. Include on your resume the skills that the organization is seeking in a new hire. By reading the job description, you can see if your qualifications and experience match the job requirements. 

However, avoid using generic language or copying and pasting from other sources. Focus on what you've accomplished and what sets you apart from the rest of the pack.

Who will be reading your cover letter?

Your cover letter ought to be personalized for the individual reading it. You can find out who is responsible for applying for the position by looking at the job listings. Find out about your new boss even if you can't find their name in the job description.

It's best to contact the company directly by phone or email. Explain that you are interested in applying for a position with the company and would like to know to whom your cover letter should be addressed. They should be glad to help you out. Keep in mind that there is no harm in inquiring about it.

It's possible to address your cover letter to the hiring manager in this way if you know their name.

  • Dear Mr. White, if it's a man. 
  • Dear Miss/Mrs. White, whether or not you know her marital status
  • Dear Ms. White, if a woman uses this title or you don't know her marital status 
  • If you know the recipient's name, use Yours sincerely as a signature on your letter.

Using the hiring manager's name in your cover letter shows that you're serious about the position and that you appropriately conduct yourself.

If a person's name isn't mentioned, it can be an advantage because it shows the employer that you've done your research. You'll set yourself apart from the other applicants before they've even opened your cover letter.

If you cannot locate the hiring manager's name, sign your letter with Yours faithfully and address it as Dear Sir or Madam.

Research current industry trends

A cover letter is a great way to show a potential employer how enthusiastic you are about the position and how knowledgeable you are about the industry. As a result, you should customize your cover letter to reflect recent developments in the industry.

In this type of research, Google is your best ally. Find official industry publications online and peruse the news section. As a result, you should have a list of recent topics on which to write.

If you're still stumped, perhaps you should check out LinkedIn. The company name is searchable, so you can see what news the company has commented on.

You may also want to look at the stories your staff has been sharing. Many topics are relevant to the industry as a whole and each company.

Including these tidbits of information in your cover letter will demonstrate that you've taken the time to tailor it to this specific position and will help you stand out from the other applicants.

What is the company's vision? 

Before drafting a cover letter and submitting an employment application, you must familiarize yourself with a company. As an example, how did it all begin? What does it hope to accomplish? Who are its main rivals and most important customers? Learn as much as you can about the subject.

The "About us" section of the company website has much of this information, so start there. It's also a good idea to look for recent press coverage of the business.

Soon, you can expect to read about significant partnerships, new product launches, and major staff changes. You can use this information to your advantage by incorporating it into your cover letter and distributing it throughout the document.

Tell them you want the job and why

We all tend to forget that the hiring process isn't about us and focuses on our achievements and qualities. Recruiters are looking for individuals who can add value to the organization. 

The final paragraph of a personalized cover letter should explain why you are interested in the position and why you believe you are qualified for it. Explain why you are interested in working for this company. 

Research the company's "About Us" page on the internet. Learn about the vision and mission statements of the company. It would be best to learn more about their community involvement. Use this data to connect your personal and professional goals.

In conclusion, it is important to take the time to tailor your resume and cover letter when applying for jobs. Doing so increases your chances of getting an interview and ultimately landing the job. Remember that first impressions matter, so ensure your resume and cover letter are error-free and give a good overview of your skills and experience.

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