Career Tip of the Day: Tailor Your Cover Letter

Take the extra time and effort so you'll get noticed

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We all know it: With millions out of work, employers get hoards of emails in response to job listings and opportunities. Knowing this, it’s always good to find a way to make your resume and cover letter stand out. There are small tweaks that can really grab the attention of a human resources director, recruiter or executive, and one big one is tailoring your cover letter. Templates have always been great foundations to professionally portray your qualifications and interest in an opportunity, but tailoring your cover letter for an employer at your dream company could give you that extra leg up.

Here are quick ways to do that:

Specifically reference the company, its latest endeavors and what you can offer that company. Don’t forget to include the company’s name and the position you are applying for very clearly.

Address your cover letter to the correct hiring manager or executive. Be sure his/her title and the spelling of his/her name are correct.

If you were referred by someone who works for or with the company, mention it. This can be a definite plus and lets the employer know you’re familiar with the company and its brand.

Follow the directions of the specific listing. If the listing says to include the name of the position in the subject line of your e-mail, by all means, do that. If it says to send resumes to a specific person or e-mail address, it might not be a good idea to just blast the whole staff.

If possible, be creative. A Black Enterprise intern once created a bio page that looked like a section of the magazine. She went on to become a full-time employee.

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