Why it’s important to target each resume and cover letter
On average, I see about 20 resumes a day from candidates who want to work for ResumeEdge. As the Managing Editor and hiring manager, I’m tasked with finding the best writers.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a cover letter that stated “Dear Sir”. Considering that the candidate didn’t bother to check out our site or my name, that didn’t bode well.
I’ve had others who used the correct salutation, but after “Dear Darlene” the letter then stated the following:
“I read your ad about the ESL opening, and I want to assure you that as a teacher, I have the credentials and experience you need.”
Given that I hire writers to write resumes, and not teachers to teach English as a second language, I moved on to the next candidate. After all, if this individual didn’t read the cover letter before submitting, or didn’t care enough to personalize the cover letter’s contents to the position I had open, then this person wouldn’t be a good fit in our organization.
And that brings me to a hard truth all job seekers should understand. You have only one chance to wow a hiring manager. You do that by:
1. Using the individual’s name in the cover letter. No ‘Dear Sir’, ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, or ‘To Whom It May Concern’. Find the person’s name. Use it. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Tailoring the cover letter to the job being sought. Trust me, if the hiring manager is looking for someone to make widgets and you boast about your ability to made whatnots, you won’t be considered.
3. Tailoring the resume not only to the job being sought, but also dovetailing what you’ve done/accomplished to the position’s requirements. In other words, spoon feed your credentials to the hiring manager who most likely is hurried, harried and can’t take the time to shift through your documents to find what s/he needs.
If you don’t follow this advice, if you make it hard on a hiring manager to know what you can do, or if you write one cover letter/resume and shoot it out to everyone hoping for the best, you’re going to be waiting and hoping for a very long time.