How To Be A Cover Letter Chameleon

Just like you should adapt your resume for each job you apply for, you should also change your cover letter too. Your cover letter (or, more commonly, email) is the first impression you give to a recruiter. That impression matters. Without a good cover letter, your carefully adapted resume might not even be read.

Make sure your letter is brief and professional, but not too formal. Think about the recruiter as you write; they’ve got a lot of candidates to get through. How can you stand out?

Personalising is everything

If you really don’t know where to start, taking inspiration from examples online is okay – but never just copy and paste. A generic, ‘canned’ letter will turn recruiters off immediately.

You should save every single cover letter you make.  But it’s good practice to have a master document, which has all the ‘best bits’ of all your cover letters, divided by skills. This makes each cover letter easier to personalise than the last.

You should mention the company name and the role you’re applying for in the letter. But it’s even better if you address the letter with the name of the person recruiting for the role. It might take a bit of googling or LinkedIn searching, but it shows you’re willing to go the extra mile.

Be specific

Before you even start writing, go through the job description and highlight the keywords or skills you think you can prove, and build your cover letter around those.

Use specific examples of when you showed these qualities. Be results-driven: the recruiter is far more interested in how much you increased sales by, rather than a description of who you sold to. Using numbers and statistics is far more reliable than an anecdote.

A bullet point list helps you to keep it brief, and share a lot of information with the recruiter. But absolutely do not just copy the information on your resume.

It’s all about you

This cover letter is about you, so don’t talk about how great the opportunity is, or how much you respect the company. Tell the recruiter what you can offer them. What skills will you bring to a team? How can you improve their performance?

It’s important to be honest, but don’t be overly-apologetic. Focus on your strengths, and applying them to the role at hand. Instead of “What I lack in sales experience, I make up for in a passion for learning.” Try “This would be my first sales role, which builds on from the customer service skills I gained working at a local supermarket.”

Testimonials from colleagues or customers are a good way to add a bit more personality to your letter – and provide social proof. “I’ve got such a careful eye for detail, when I left my office job my colleagues bought me a box of chocolates that was ‘organised neatly, as I like it.’”

With these tools under your belt, you’ll be tapping out your cover letters in no time.