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How to tailor your cover letter for every role…and do it well!

If your cover letters still start with: I’m writing to apply for…then grab a cuppa because this blog is for you!

First, why bother with a cover letter? Cover letters don’t get read…or so they say. An age-old debate where both job seekers, recruiters and hiring managers have differing opinions. In fact, at times, it can be down to the hiring managers personal preference as to whether they read cover letters or not. But what if they do?

If only 20% of job seekers included a cover letter in their application, then any letter provided will make you appear more professional and be perceived that you want to make a good impression, that you’ve taken the time and effort to round out your application.

However, cover letters that lack substance, are generic, or simply a cliché fails to impress. This is where the ‘cover letters don’t get read’ perception comes from, and while there is a 50% chance that a cover letter may be ignored or only offered a dismissive glance, there is also a 50% chance that a cover letter will be read.

Good news, though! Times have changed and so have cover letters—for the better! So, if you want to enhance your application with a professional letter, then pay attention.

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Imagine you are the hiring manager—a hiring manager who reads cover letters. You’ve just received 200 applications for a role.

Only 20% of applicants included a cover letter. Instantly you have reduced your list of candidates by 160 applications.

(Didn’t include a cover letter? Congratulations, you’ve successfully landed in the resume black hole. You can consider yourself lucky if you receive a generic unsuccessful email. Sucks to be you; better luck next time.)

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Of the 40 candidates still in the race, 75% of the letters received went something like this:


To whoever it may concern or Dear Sir/Madam,

I would like to apply for the role of {insert role} for {insert company name} as advertised on Seek on {insert date}, {insert job reference}.

I believe I can offer all of the skills you have requested, with excellent communication and time management skills. In addition, I am motivated and thrive in a fast-paced working environment.

My resume is attached. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

{Insert name}


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If you yawned or fell asleep… you’d be forgiven.


Cliché! Generic! Boring! No wonder people stopped reading these.

Nevertheless, the applications you have to sift through just dropped by 30, leaving you with 10 genuine applications out of 200 that are worth your time.


Now, do you see how vital that cover letter can be?

If we have a 50% chance of our cover letter being read, then make sure it is an enjoyable experience for the reader, that it speaks to the role you are applying for and that it’s a highly impactful power pitch that proves how perfect you are for this role. Thus, leaving them no choice but to pick up the phone and offer you that interview.

Ok, ok, I hear you…but how?


You want to capture the reader’s ATTENTION and compel them to continue reading. Therefore, make the most of the opening line in your letter with a strong hook. Some examples are below:


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Refer to something in the news (but keep it relevant): I caught a story on the news today that indicated what we both know: that today’s consumers are savvy to the ways of advertising, so reaching people today needs to be sophisticated and well-timed. Your company can benefit from my X years as a.....

Cite recent company news: Was the company recognised recently? Include a ‘congratulations’ to a

recent accomplishment or mention a publication the reader has been quoted in.

Ask a question: Are you seeking a {insert role} with a passion for innovation and a proven track record in driving high customer satisfaction? If the answer is yes, then….

Repeating their needs back to them: Some could consider your hiring wish list as difficult to fill. You want an individual with a range of skills in business development, supported by experience in IT, and more than five years selling widgets to the gadget sector. Impossible? Surprisingly no! I can offer you all those attributes and more that will help you take your business to the next level.”

Have some fun: Align with the job description and if they have indicated fun, be fun back! If you can make someone smile or better laugh, then you’re winning! I had a job description once that mentioned the team loves a dad joke…you guessed, we put in a dad joke. Going for a role at Baskin & Robbins…tell them how much your childhood depended on ice cream.

Create INTEREST by reducing the instances of ‘I’ and ‘my’ and instead utilise ‘you’ and ‘your’. People love to read about themselves; by slightly changing the way you write, you can coerce the reader into becoming more invested because you’ve made it less about you and more about them.


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Examples:

Your advertisement indicated you are looking for…

Your organisation can benefit from…

The value proposition for your organisation is…


You now have their ATTENTION and their INTEREST. Time to up the ante, get the decision-maker excited and create DESIRE.


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Break up the walls of text with some bullet point examples that provide solutions to what the employer wants to resolve. Scour the job description and find what they are looking for. If you don’t have one, imagine what that business might face daily; what are their pain points? Address them.


Do not use information word-for-word from the resume but instead repurpose it and reshape it so it sounds new. For example, you can lead into your bullets with a line such as:


A company such as yours is often concerned about the destabilising effects of poor performance, dissatisfied customers and narrowing profit margins. In recent years I have:

…and then follow with your two or three bullet points.

Now, we want to close with a final impactful statement, reminding them why you are the perfect fit and evoke an ACTION, such as an invitation to interview. Remember to make it about them and their needs…not yours.


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Examples:

I am excited to be a part of your team and look forward to contributing ABC to the XYZ project. I am available at your convenience for a phone call or in-person meeting.

Confident that my background in ABC combined with my skills in XYZ will be immediately impactful as your next {Name of Position}, I would be delighted to discuss your needs in more detail at an interview.

Lastly, thank them for their time and consideration and sign off.

If you can make a connection with the reader, address their specific needs, and persuade them to take action, then you have just written yourself a strategic, effective and highly impactful cover letter that’s going to get you noticed.


Still, need help? Email info@wanderlustresumes.com to get professional assistance. We’re here to help.


#coverletters #coverlettertips #coverletterhelp #getnoticed #resumewriter #professionaladvice #wanderlustresumes

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