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August 10, 2015

How To Write A Customizable Cover Letter

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Sponsored: Easy way to create a perfectly-written cover letter

Most job seekers spend hours creating their resumes and cover letters, searching through job postings, reviewing classified ads and networking--all in order to land the job interview. Yet 99% of them don't have a clue what to do when they get one.

There's a little known "secret career document" you can quickly and easily customize for your next important job interview that literally forces the interviewer to picture you filling the position. This powerful technique was created by one of California's top marketing professionals. His method guarantees you'll automatically stand out from the crowd and shoot straight to the top of the "must hire" list for any position you seek. To get hired faster, check out this video.

How To Write A Customizable Cover Letter

By Amiya Halder, Editor for Daily Star's Weekly Career Supplement

There's no point in sprucing up a fill-in-the-blank-cover letter if you've already put in time and effort into making the most perfect resume ever for the job of your dreams. Instead, take 30 more minutes to reflect and formulate a new one that comprises why you're a great fit for the position you're applying and the company as a whole. This extra little investment is absolutely worth it and the personal touch will show when the folks at the recruitment table are looking over it.

While no two cover letters should read the same, it doesn't take a genius to make a cover letter template that's customizable and reusable.

Here's how...

SALUTATION

Drop the "To whom it may concern". Seeing "Dear Mr. Karim Rahman" instead will impress your recruiter any day. Your cover letter should always address a specific person.
If the posting didn't come with a name, do your research. Look up the organization's recruitment manager on their website. If that fails as well, search for the in-charge of the department. Or inquire with the company or someone in the organization if possible. Remember: including a name is a sign that you're willing to put in the effort for research. Double-check then triple-check to make sure you're addressing the right person before hitting send.

OPENING

The first sentence of your cover letter is the best place to show the recruiter your enthusiasm for working in this organization. Start with something along the lines of:

I am excited to apply for the position of [insert title].
Once you've decided on a first line that fully expresses your intentions, head into the explanation. It should look something like this:

I am excited to apply for the position of Marketing Intern. SkyCel is a top name in the telecommunications sector by always focusing on its customers wherever they may be. Your dedication to customer satisfaction is what I have always aspired towards in my work life. I wish to bring this commitment, along with my expertise and experience, to the brilliant work your organization is doing.

Research is of the essence in your cover letter. If you can't think of what to focus on, read up on the company's background awards it has won, what its mission and vision are, presence on social media, and so on to narrow down the key points that have led you to apply for this job. Highlight what relevant skills you possess that would contribute to the organization's goals - not how the company can help but how you can help the company.

BODY

Try to restrict the body of your cover letter to two paragraphs. These should include what your most recent and relevant roles and responsibilities were and how you plan to apply them in this new position. The connection should be clear and should encompass your value proposition. Start with the following:

For the past [insert appropriate time period], I worked as a [insert position] for [insert organization]. Here I was responsible for [insert role 1], [insert role 2], [insert role 3]. Among the many projects I worked on, [insert project name] involved [insert name of task].

It's important not to reiterate all the details from your resume here. Instead, expand on only the most pertinent experiences.

But how do you know which jobs to highlight? Unless your most recent position is not at all similar to the one you're applying to now or it was only for a short length of time, start with that. Next, go through the job posting and pick out three to four things that they require - that you can't do without if you're applying here. It could be writing ability, leadership skills, clerical experience, finance knowledge, etc. If you don't have expertise in the very same area, work with what you do have - the closest item in your resume you can find.

CLOSING

Don't fall back on the obvious here. Avoid the typical "Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you". Your closing should have the same personal touch the rest of your cover letter has.

If you're changing industries, this is where you should explain why. End with one sentence discussing your motives:

"I wish to work in telecommunications because my background in [insert profession/industry] combined with my passion for your organization and this role, would make me qualified to take up [insert relevant role].

Stating you have a different background and experience does not put you at a disadvantage, rather it justifies and clarifies your overall application.

On the other hand, you could choose to focus further on your strong enthusiasm. This is fine as long as you are not regurgitating your opening all over again.

Remember to thank the recruitment manager for their time and sign off. So next time, don't hand in a cover letter that's straight out of the can. If you care, personalization is the only way to go.


Amiya Halder works as Sub-Editor for Daily Star's weekly career supplement 'Next Step'. She has the daunting task of turning dull, sleep inducing articles into interesting content. She often steps in to create info-graphs which is one of her specialties. Amiya has a recurring worry that her arms are too short for taking selfies, rather like the Tyrannosaurs Rex. This IBA student refuses to let her poor selfie taking skills hamper her team building activities. Most of that involves accepting LAN games of NFS and beating the guys most of the times at races. It's called team building exercises and she practices what she edits.

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