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Customizing Each Cover Letter and Resume to Get the Job [By Mary Waldron] When preparing cover letters and resumes for a job search mailing, you should never consider submitting two of the same cover letter—or even two of the same resume, for that matter. It is invaluable to know as much as possible about the jobs you are applying for, so that your letter and resume can be focused and concise. Each letter and resume must speak directly to each individual employer, proving that you are the perfect candidate for each job you apply for.

Most people search for jobs online, in the

in a quick line at the close of your letter. That

It is also vital that your resume reflect the

want ads, and through friends and family,

way, employers know you are reading up on

research you have done on the company

sending general cover letters and resumes

and studying their companies.

you are applying to. Evaluate your range of skills and employment history, making the

to every lead, just to get the material out quickly and avoid losing out to competition.

Be careful not to regurgitate information that

proper adjustments to demonstrate that you

This is job search suicide. When potential

the company already knows. For example,

are right for the job. Again, know what types

employers read your cover letter, do you

Googling a company’s name and then copying

of cases and work the company handles so

think they want to hear about you? Well, yes,

and pasting a line from the overview on their

you can keep this information in mind when

they do want to know something about you,

website is not going to impress them. For

narrowing down your sharpest, most relevant

obviously. But they want to hear more about

instance, do not say, “Fulbright & Jaworski

skills and most applicable job experiences. If

their companies. They want to see that you

was voted among the ten best firms in the

you are applying for a position in a law firm,

have done the research, that you really know

country for environmental law.” A better

it clearly is not essential to mention your

what sort of position you are applying for,

choice might be something like this: “The

summer job at Burger King in 1986.

and that you are excited about and qualified

experience and knowledge I acquired during

for the job. Before composing a cover letter,

my internship with environmental law firm

Also, avoid listing skills that an employer

research the company by visiting its website,

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, specifically with

can assume you have, such as proficiency in

reading relevant articles, and talking to

issues related to implementation of the 1990

Microsoft Word. If you have graduated from

others about its reputation.

Clean Air Act Amendments, can complement

college and law school, you have probably

your company’s notable and extensive work

encountered Word a few times, making

in clean air and water.”

it redundant to list proficiency in it as a

After you have learned a sufficient amount about the company and where you would

skill, unless, for some reason, advanced

fit in, if hired, evaluate yourself and decide

All job listings are different; some provide

what you can bring to the mix. What skills

all of the necessary information for a

and experience do you possess that will

cover letter, including the company name

If you have a long work history, only

apply to the open position’s specific tasks

and address, as well as the name of the

reflect the last five to ten years of work,

or goals? For example, if you are applying

contact to whom you should send your

depending on how many jobs you have

for a position in an environmental law firm,

materials—but this is not always the case.

held. Since employers typically spend less

research its current cases and latest news.

It is imperative that you attempt to find out

than one minute perusing your materials,

Maybe the firm is currently working on an

any missing information in order to compose

you are doing yourself a favor by omitting

air pollution case and you just happen to

and format your letter correctly. Writing

unnecessary and irrelevant information…or,

have worked on a similar project during

“To Whom it May Concern” is a very bland

rather, junk.

your internship last summer. Tying in your

and impersonal way of addressing a letter;

expertise with the types of cases and work

however, if companies or contacts wish to

Craft your cover letter and resume carefully,

a firm deals with is key in a cover letter.

remain anonymous, leaving no clues as

so that by the end of reading them, the

Also, do not be afraid to congratulate your

to who they are, you have no choice. If a

employer you’ve tailored them to believes

potential employer on current wins or

company intentionally remains anonymous,

you are the only one capable of doing the job.

advances within the company. Of course, be

it probably will not hold it against you if you

brief and professional about it; maybe throw

write “To Whom it May Concern.”

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knowledge of Word is very specific to the job.

Customizing Each Cover Letter and Resume to Get the Job  

Preparing cover letters and resumes for a job search mailing. Each letter and resume must speak directly to each individual employer, provin...

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