Don’t Be a Generic Candidate: Personalize Your Cover Letter!

September 21st, 2012

When you read this headline, you probably thought to yourself, “Does anybody read cover letters anymore?!” YES. Savvy recruiters and hiring managers still read cover letters and any other correspondence to get a sense of how strong a candidate’s communication skills are.

Cover letters, or any emails or other correspondences, are crucial to the initial impression you make on a hiring manager. So the first fact is, you need to send one.

A second, sad but true fact is that a poorly written cover letter, resume or follow-up letter will probably serve as nothing more than a source of amusement to the recipient. Silly typos and grammatical errors aren’t really funny, though. They show an inattention to detail on your part—an undesirable trait in any employee. Make sure you proof each letter carefully – don’t rely on spell check – and ask another person to look at it with a fresh set of eyes. They might catch something you didn’t.

Third, your goal is to stand out when you send your resume. And you want to show enthusiasm for the position and the company. This doesn’t mean you should print your cover letter on colored paper or clutter up your email with fancy fonts and use a lot of exclamation points. What it means is that you have a few paragraphs to state your case, and you’d better make them count.

Making Them Count

Right off the bat, your letter needs to show the reader that you’ve done your homework. Never send a cover letter that starts with “To whom it may concern” or Dear Sir/Madam. Take the time to call the company and find out who the letter/email should be sent to. And make sure you have the person’s name spelled right. Not only is this common sense, but if you spell it wrong when addressing an email, your letter may not go through.

Speaking of the recipient, if their name is the only thing you’re changing every time you send out a cover letter, you’re going to give the wrong impression because your letter is going to be too generic and canned. You don’t want to make it sound like you’re only interested in finding a job — any job. You need to make it sound like you really want that job, for that specific company. And you need to show the employer that you spent some time researching the organization and demonstrating why you would make an excellent candidate for this particular job. What can you say about the company and the position that ties in with your experience and personality?

By the way, if you tend to use the same basic letter, but personalize it for each position, make sure you double-check that you haven’t left information from your last email or cover letter in this one.

Finally, if you feel you’re following these guidelines and not getting results, or if you’ve been on the job hunt for too long, don’t hesitate to call the IT staffing experts at Synerfac! Our recruiters are expert at presenting candidates to clients, and because we work directly with corporate decision makers, we can get your resume seen more quickly.

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