Easy Ways to Customize Your Cover Letter

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Let’s face it, a blanket cover letter just isn’t going to cut it these days. So how can you make the best use of your time while maximizing your results? Here are a few simple steps to customizing your cover letters.


Here’s a mistake I see more and more job seekers making: the opening line on their cover letter reads, “Please accept this in response to the (position) advertised on month day, year …” What’s wrong with this kind of opening line? Everyone uses it. The point of your job search is to stand out from the crowd—not get lost in the midst of it. Instead, try using something similar to your branding statement. You can easily tweak your branding statement to be a customized opening line.

For example: With more than 10 years of profit-driven project management expertise …

What’s different about this opening line? I’m already addressing the company’s need for a bottom-line-driven project manager; sharing my years of experience; and hitting the job title on the dot. That’s three big points you’ve scored in the first line alone.


After you’ve written your opening lines (which express your interest in the position and introduce you to the prospective employer) immediately jump into how you can meet the organization’s needs based on the requirements the company posted in its online ad or job description.

“I see you are interested in hiring someone with strategic-change management experience.” (Or whatever the key requirement of the position is—highlight it here). Then tell—or even better, SHOW—the reader why you have that experience: “In my present role with ABC Distributors, I did XYZ, which resulted in JKL.” Showing the potential employer—right off the bat—that you possess a desired attribute or requirement for the position will prompt the hiring manager to invest more time in reading your resume. If your cover letter states—in so many words—“I am the perfect match for your opening, and I can meet/exceed your needs …” then you immediately get my attention, and I’m more likely to invest time in reviewing your resume.

Here’s a tip: do not use bullet points or material word-for-word from your resume; provide the hiring manager with fresh information on your cover letter.


Here are a few small details to remember when crafting a cover letter to fit a specific opening:

-Make sure that your cover letter heading matches your resume’s.
-Include your branding statement with your header at the top of your cover letter. It reinforces your brand and provides a polished touch.
-Include a quote from a former employer if relevant and hard-hitting. This is a great way to “sell” what you’re capable of accomplishing for an organization. If the prospective employer has a specific requirement in its job ad—and you’ve already done that somewhere else and have a great recommendation or quote from a previous supervisor to back it up—WOW!! There really isn’t any better sales/marketing material than that. Not much can beat a quote about your results.


Always offer at the close of your letter to follow up with the employer/hiring manager via phone, e-mail, snail mail, whatever … within a specific time frame (be it one week or two or whenever). Also, be sure to include your contact information so they can reach out to you. Keep the closing professional, polished, and concise. You don’t want to appear desperate or unprofessional.


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  •  Pam T
    Pam T
    Thank you for this information.Very helpful
  • Patricia V
    Patricia V
    Very helpful. Thank you!
  • George O
    George O
    Thank you very much indeed! you enlighten me.. I knew now what going on with my resume.. again thanks
  • GAYE B
    GAYE B
    I would like to stop by saying thank you for your insight on cover letters number one it is a great part of selling yourself in networking and I should take this tool and use it wisely in my opening cover letters
  • L.Sue B
    L.Sue B
    Good info.  Thanks!
  • Mary P
    Mary P
    Great Stuff! Thanks
  • Paula Y
    Paula Y
    very informative and helpful.. Thank you.
  • Nancy B
    Nancy B
    This article was of great help in doing a cover letter.  I struggle how I should tailor it to the ad.What is a branding statement?
  • Bruce O
    Bruce O
    great information...
  • Mike G. T
    Mike G. T
    Excellent advice I have been out of work for over three years and by far this has been the best advice I have seen. I am going to give it a try, wish me luck. I always tell my kids don't give up keep your chin up and be proud things will get better. God bless you and thanks for your help.
  • Roger Z.
    Roger Z.
    I like your suggestion for an opening line. I have tried over 8 different cover letter formats. Being unemployed now for a year I have talked to hundreds of recruiters and hiring managers, there is no continuity as to the process used to hire a candidate. I have asked each one their preferred resume and cover letter format and the answers are all over the place. It comes down to who reads your resume, their overall attitude about people and the list goes on. I have been told by several hiring managers and recruiters if your unemployed you will not be hired. I asked why and the response was unemployed people make bad employees. So basically it's the luck of the draw. Good Luck everyone!
  • Prudy
    Sounds great to me.
  • Christiana
    Your answer was just what I needed. It made my day!
  • dot.doc
    Jim Long- We must be the same generation. Jargon and branding and follow up statements do not make any difference!  I agree with no Bullet points!My profession has no rules today, sadly. Are you HR reps not versed in finding a 'qualified' person with good "potential"?
  • Forbes D.
    Forbes D.
    GREAT ADVICE! I have been in my career field for many years and never read advice as good as yours about the opening line of my cover letter. Thanks a million!
  • Anita K.
    Anita K.
    Thank you, this article was helpful to me. From this article I can see that my cover letter has been boring and probably one of those that hit the trash after the first couple of lines. This article has given me a new insight. Again, thank you.
  • Barbara M.
    Barbara M.
    There is no information on how to write a cover letter for a job fair. Do you know where I can get this type of information?
  • Tiny P.
    Tiny P.
    This was very informative, so helpful in so many ways. I had no idea that your cover letter had to really stand out just as much as a resume.
  • Stephen Waters
    Stephen Waters
    A great article and well presented! This is the very first time that I have replied to anything like this - so congrats!Thank you for prompting me in so many ways and I am so glad that I re-visited your article! I will certainly take note and tailor make my cv and cover letter.
    My kindest regards and many thanks. Steve Waters
  • Dot
    As a job seeker, I like to read different articles on how to improve my job search, resume updates, interviewing skills and so on.  This article on cover letters "hit me on the head!" I have been writing my cover letter like the one mentioned for as long as I remember.  Now I get it and I have this website to thank for it. So thank you for the advice.
  • Joy P.
    Joy P.
    Hi, I find this site informative. But I am still looking for something more...Thank You! & more power!
  • Gavin P.
    Gavin P.
    this has been a very helpfull article
  • Flora Busby
    Flora Busby
    Thanks for the examples of a good cover letter.  I will use the examples in my more than two years of desperate search for employment.
  • Hernan Cortes
    Hernan Cortes
    This is helpful

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