8 EASY Ways to Personalize Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is a great way to introduce yourself.  Many job seekers make the mistake of a one-size-fits-all introduction.  Don’t waste your first impression by sending a generic letter. I would HIGHLY suggest personalizing it.  Use these 8 tips to make an impact and get into the “YES” pile.

8 Easy Ways to Personalize Your Cover Letter - Job Search Guide @ResumeButterfly

How to Personalize a Cover Letter

Add Company Specific Details –

  1. Use the Hiring Manager’s Name (use LinkedIn, Google, call the office)
    • To Whom It May Concern is not acceptable (and not a person)
  2. Do you have a networking connection? Mention it!
    • A personal connection is a great way to get your foot in the door.  Mention it early in the cover letter.
  3. Replace generic words like “company” or “organization” with the specific company name
    • This shows that you took time to edit your letter for their company
  4. Edit or rearrange your core strengths / skills that apply to that position – use company specific wording
    • How are you the “missing puzzle piece” that they are looking to hire? The job description shows what they need.
  5. Add key phrases from the job description (or company mission) that apply to your experience – always be truthful
    • Keywords and phrases are important. Don’t make the hiring manager guess and try to match your experience. Be specific.
  6. What specific problem can you help solve?
    • Show that you can make an impact!
  7. How are you a good fit for THEM (not just a job, but THAT position)
    • How would you fit into the company culture and be the missing link?
  8. Show how your past experience directly relates to the position. “I see you are interested in hiring someone with XYZ experience. In my role with ABC, I {list transferable accomplishments}.
    • Again, don’t leave the hiring manager wondering. Address their needs and be the problem solver.
  9. Etc. – Be Creative!
    • Yes, editing your cover letter will take a few extra minutes, but it is so important and will save you time in the long run. Sending a generic cover letter out “into job search space” will not do you any favors. Take time and be strategic in your job search. It’s helpful to personalize the top profile section of your resume too by using the specific job title and keywords or phrase that show you are a good fit for THAT position.

*** REMINDER: I’m sure this wouldn’t apply to you, but SUPER important – save a generic version of your cover letter template (so you have it to edit later) and then SAVE AS and rename company specific copies so you don’t get mixed up – for example YourName-JobTitle-ABCCompany-CoverLetter.doc.  I hated (and threw away) cover letters that were accidentally addressed to other companies.  Double check!

What else would you add to the list?

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About Jessica Smith

Jessica Smith is a resume writer and small business owner of Resume Butterfly, focused on transforming careers and resume makeovers. Before Resume Butterfly, Jessica was the Director of Career Services at a local college.
Follow her on Twitter @ResumeButterfly!