3 Steps to a Customized Cover Letter a Recruiter Will Read

Cover LetterEach job or internship you apply for is different from the last… different job, unique requirements, another company. So, it remains very important to customize every cover letter as you apply!

The hiring manager wants to know you’re not just sending out a generic letter to all employers; in fact, if they sense a “form letter” hiring managers will often immediately delete the application. And your customized cover letter demonstrates that you genuinely care and are interested in the position… not just any position.

Here are three steps to customize your cover letter as you apply:

A “What’s in It for Me” Introduction

The best cover letters start with benefit-laden sentences, including the position you’re seeking, that clearly tells the recruiter what is in it for them – why they should keep reading. This tells the employer which position you’re interested in and why you’re the best fit for the opening. It also entices them to read your resume so they can find out more about just how great you really are.

Starting with benefit-laden sentences is also so much more captivating than starting with the standard please accept my resume in response to X position advertised in XYZ.com.

Marketing in the Middle

The middle of your cover letter is your time to shine. Market your talents, successes, and achievements in brief statements or bullets, and make sure you choose statements that demonstrate how you would be a valuable asset to their organization.

This is the place to demonstrate FIT. Be relevant! Focus on your experience, education, and achievements as they relate to the position you’re applying to. Employers want to see the connection between your experience and their needs. This is the best place to substantiate your credentials and fit for the position.

Close With a Call to Action

Always close your cover letter with a call to action; do not just end it by saying thanks for your time!

The best cover letters don’t just thank the reader for his or her time; they also state how you will follow up with them about the opportunity or how they can best reach you—or both! I’ve read cover letters that end with something to this effect: Thank you for your time and interest. I will follow up with you in one week via telephone to confirm receipt of my resume and cover letter and to discuss further how my prior success at XYZ can be a valuable asset to ABC Company.

Creating a customized cover letter doesn’t have to be a daunting task; just focus on the three steps above… and show a little personality!





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Great Resumes Fast!



Jessica-Holbrook-HernandezAbout the Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter. With more than ten years’ experience directing hiring practices for Fortune 500 companies, she has developed innovative and proven resume development, and personal branding strategies to generate powerful results for clients.

As a global resume authority and trusted media source, Jessica has been featured and quoted on CNN.com, Monster.com, Job Talk America radio, SmartBrief, International Business Times, and more. Jessica has her Bachelor of Science degree in Communications/Public Relations from the University of North Florida. Contact Jessica on Twitter!



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  • Kimberlee, Esq.

    Each cover letter one submits definitely needs to be unique. Its OK to have a set of pre-written paragraphs you swap in and out, but each one should be unique and different.

    Again, though, I wish this site would stop telling young people to include anything about calling to confirm receipt or any kind of automatic follow-up; while there are some industries where that is a good thing, there are huge swaths of the HR and hiring manager world that just find that really, really irritating. You need to have a much better understanding of your industry than most intern/entry-level candidates have before you should ever call and pointlessly irritate people!

  • With respect, Kimberlee, I disagree strongly with your position on not following up. What are the other options? To wait for the employer to communicate? Doesn’t happen. To wait for the recruiter to start caring about the candidate experience? Won’t happen.

    Following up on applications where the candidate is clearly qualified is one tool in a job-seekers’ arsenal that can make them stand out among so many applicants who won’t bother. Done in a non-irritating, non-intrusive, professional way, that effective, timely can make the difference between getting an interview… and not.

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