How to Write a Customized Cover Letter

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It can take a little time to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply for, but it's important to take the time and effort to show the company why you are a good match. Follow these tips to customize your cover letter when applying for a job.

Look for the Hiring Manager

When it comes to cover letters, taking the time to get personal is really important. Find out as much as you can about the company and the hiring manager. Personalize your cover letter and, if you can, address it to the individual responsible for hiring. If need be, research online or make a phone call to find out who the hiring manager is.

Mention Who You Know

If you know someone at the company, mention their name in your cover letter. Name dropping works - your cover letter will get a closer look if it mentions someone who works at the company. That's important both from your perspective and from the employee's, especially if the company has an Employee Referral Program and is eligible for a bonus.

As an aside, be sure to ask your contact if they can recommend you for the job and help get your cover letter and resume a closer look from the hiring manager.

Mention How You Learned About the Job

Mention how you learned about the job in the first paragraph of your cover letter. The company wants to know how the job was sourced, especially when you found the listing on a job board or other site where they paid to post. That sentence can simply say, for example, "I learned of this position from the posting I read on Monster."

Take it one step further and mention something about the company, from the mission statement on the company website, for example, in your cover letter.

Showcase Your Qualifications

Employers typically won't even consider a candidate who doesn't appear to be qualified at first glance. That first glance at your cover letter is your one opportunity to make a good impression and make it to the next round. In order to pass that first round of screening, you must specifically address the job ad and state why you are qualified for the position

To write a custom cover letter, take the job posting and list the criteria the employer is looking for. Then list the skills and experience you have. Either address how your skills match the job in paragraph form or list the criteria and your qualifications. Here's more on how to match your qualifications to a job description. Also take the time to showcase how your personality is a good fit for both the position and the company.

Include Skills and Results

Also include skill, results and recognition keywords in your cover letter to increase your chances of getting selected for an interview. Here's a list of skills for resumes and cover letters you can use to get suggestions for your own application materials.

This way, the hiring manager can see, at a glance, why and how you're qualified for the job. Here's how to write a cover letter in five simple steps.

Customized Cover Letter Example

The following is a cover letter example which is focused on a career change and the skills required for the advertised position, in the field of sales and communications. Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a sample cover letter
©TheBalance 2018

Customized Cover Letter Example (Text Version)

Addison Applicant 
123 Main Street 
Anytown, CA 12345 

September 1, 2018

Eddie Lee 
Director, Human Resources 
Wellesley Information Services 
123 Business Rd. 
Business City, NY 54321

Dear Mr. Lee,

I am applying for the Inside Sales position posted on At your convenience, I'd appreciate the opportunity to discuss the position and my candidacy with you. You can find my resume attached to this e-mail.

I am looking to bring my well-honed public relations, marketing, and client-focused online, oral, and interpersonal communication skills internally to succeed in an inside sales position.

Pertinent experience and skills for the posted position include:

  • The power of persuasion. I’ve pitched stories for C-level executives via phone and e-mail and placed them in major media outlets, such as MSNBC, CIO Magazine, Sirius Satellite Radio, MSN Money, AARP Bulletin, and The New York Daily News.
  • Strong financial aptitude. My experience includes a little over a decade in the accounting profession in external and internal client-facing environments.
  • Strong computer skills. I am experienced in both Microsoft and Mac software, and also have a basic-level familiarity with HTML, CSS, and digital design.
  • I bring a variety of personal skills that will ensure success in this role: I am a good listener with a solid work ethic and an insistent desire to excel. I have a proven ability to meet deadlines without fail, and enjoy a fast-paced environment. I'm also a fast learner with extraordinary factual recall.

​I'd love to find out more about the position you're looking to fill, and I would welcome the opportunity to tell you how my skills and ideas can benefit Wellesley Information Services.

Thanks for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you soon!


Addison Applicant

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