Why Can't I Use the Same Cover Letter?

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When applying to multiple jobs, writing a cover letter for each one sometimes gets tedious and frustrating. The temptation to write one cover letter and use it for multiple jobs is understandable, but doing so could negatively affect the outcome of your job search. The following are three reasons why you can't use the same cover letter for multiple jobs.

1. Your cover letter should highlight your qualifications for the specific job.

A job description lists the specific qualifications and requirements that a company wants in a candidate. A resume lists all of your various skills and experience, but does not have any way for you to tie those skills to the specific job. This is where your cover letter makes you shine. The cover letter is a gateway to your resume; it gives you the chance to explain why working in your college's career center or studying applied physics uniquely qualifies you for the job. A form letter allows you to talk up experience, but it does not allow you to link your experience directly to the qualities wanted by the hiring manager.

2. Your cover letter should show you're a good fit for the company.

Companies are not just looking for someone who fits the job, they are also looking for someone who fits the company. In fact, many companies are finding that candidates who fit in with the company's culture are more valuable than candidates who fit perfectly with the job. If you use a form letter, you lose out on an opportunity to show the hiring manager you are a good fit. Take time to do a little research on each company where you plan to apply, and use that research to touch on why you are not only a good fit for the job, but also for the company.

3. Hiring managers can tell.

Hiring managers looks at dozens, maybe even hundreds, of resumes and cover letters. They know immediately which ones are form letters and which ones were tailored to the specific job. The ones that are personalized show that the applicant is not just interested in any job, but genuinely interested in that job. Taking the time to write a well-thought-out cover letter allows you to immediately stand out from the crowd, and standing out from the crowd is a great way to expedite your search. Hiring managers know that writing a cover letter for each application is time-consuming, which is exactly why they respect the applicants who do it.

Remember that the job search is a job in and of itself. You need to show potential employers that you can do it right, so they have confidence in your ability to do the job they ask. Once you find a job that interests you, give yourself the best shot at making it to the next step by writing a thoughtful cover letter.


(Photo courtesy of stockimages / freedigitalphotos.net)


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