Most people know that sending the same cover letter to every job is a mistake, especially if the jobs to which you're applying are in different industries. But formatting a cover letter to suit an industry can often seem like a daunting task, and many people are confused as to how to accomplish it. These tips can help you target your cover letter to the employers you want to work for, so you can land your dream job faster!
When you go to apply for jobs, try to tailor your skills section to the industry your targeting. For instance, if you worked as customer service representative and you're applying for a job in sales you can talk about your excellent phone communication skills, and your ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment. If you're applying for a financial consultant position you can highlight the consultative nature of your job as a customer service representative, how you were able to explain technical processes in a simple way, and how you were able to solve problems for your customers. You're using the same work experience to apply for these different industries, but you're highlighting different skills depending on what the industry or job position at hand requires.
While you want to be honest about your work experience, you don't necessarily have to include everything you've ever done, particularly in your cover letter. Your cover letter should sum up the places you've been and skills you've learned that directly apply to the job to which you're applying. So if you're applying for a marketing position and you've worked as a sales associate, include that. However, you probably don't need to discuss the two years in college you spent as a waitress in your cover letter unless it somehow applies to your future marketing career.
Another way to customize your cover letter is to speak directly to your audience. It would be beneficial for you to research a little bit about the company to which you're applying, and even the person who will interview you if you have the opportunity. By understanding who you're talking to, you can highlight different life and work experiences you've had. If you know the hiring manager is a huge animal lover, you might mention the volunteer work you did with the ASPCA. If the company is known for its aggressive marketing tactics, you could mention the canvassing you did for a political campaign. Knowing to whom you are speaking allows you to "speak their language" in a sense and relate to them on their level.
Customizing your cover letter to suit the company, position, and industry at hand is incredibly important, and it will also help you to stand out from the crowd. Many people mass apply to jobs without updating their cover letter or tailoring it to a specific job or company. When you take the time to do this it will be very obvious, and you'll automatically be ahead of the game. If you're wondering how to create the perfect cover letter, try using LiveCareer's Cover Letter Builder tool as a starting point. First impressions are important; make yours count.