Although there is a lot of debate around whether cover letters are necessary and if hiring managers even read them, a general rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution. That means including a cover letter. Worst case, it doesn’t get read. Best case, it gets read and gives you an edge over the competition because it piques an employer’s interest and makes them want to learn more about you. If it comes down to you and someone else being equally qualified, taking the time to create a cover letter could pay off.

But sending along a generic cover letter that could be from anyone for any job at any company does nothing to help your case. If you’re going to take the time to write a cover letter, do it right and make it personalized. Once you’ve found a job that you’re truly interested in and feel you are a good fit for, tailor your cover letter to that role and show the hiring manager why they should invite you for an interview.

Here are 4 ways to add a personal touch to your cover letter:

  1. Address it to a specific person. Stop using a generic “To Whom It May Concern,” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Not only do these phrases date you, they show a lack of effort. Check the job posting or company website for the hiring manager’s name, or the name of the person you would potentially report to. You can also do an Internet search to see what you can find. There is a lot of information out there, so do your best to identify a specific person related to the role. If you’re really struggling, you could address it to the department you’re applying to, or to the recruiting/talent acquisition team.
  2. Mention someone you know at the company. Having connections can go a long way. A lot of companies prioritize referrals from current employees, so don’t be afraid to name drop if you know someone. Just make sure you let that person know you’re doing so.
  3. Highlight something you know about the company. Pay attention to the news. Did the company recently go through a merger or acquisition? Did they introduce a new product or service? Are they expanding into a new market? Demonstrate that you’re up-to-date on what is happening at the organization, then link that to how you can help the company. Do you have experience building clients in new areas? Working with a certain technology they’re implementing? Managing financials following a company integration?
  4. Align your skills and experience with the job. Show that you have read the job opening carefully and possess the experience they desire. Pick two or three key points where you are strong or have a lot of knowledge or experience, and call them out. For instance, how you managed a multi-million-dollar project across several teams. Your comfort with organizing executive calendars and scheduling. Your ability to create forecasting models or source reputable vendors.

Your cover letter shouldn’t rehash your resume. It should expand upon certain points and add more detail and insight. It should capture a hiring manager’s attention and give them a reason to move onto your resume and contact you for an interview. Taking the time and making the effort to create a personalized cover letter for the job lets the hiring manager know you’ve thought about the position and what makes you a great fit – not just that you’ve applied for anything you seem remotely qualified for.

If it has been a while since you updated your resume and wrote a cover letter, don’t stress. The team at Grammar Chic is here to lead the way and help you create polished documents that demonstrate what you bring to the table. Contact us today at (803) 831-7444 or to get started!