Targeting Your Cover Letter
Most candidates spend a lot of time working on the structure and tone of their cover letters. They remember to delete weak language and buzzwords; stay away from generic templates; and wipe out cookie-cutter salutations, typos, and passive verbs. But in the course of all that thinking, writing, and editing, many forget to do one thing: Explain to the prospective employer how their presence will benefit the company. For many tech pros, this is an easy thing to miss. You focus so intently on detailing your experience and skills, you forget to explain why your background makes you a particularly good fit for the job. Figuring out how you’d fit necessitates some research into the company’s culture and history, beyond what you might find in the job posting. For example, is it a firm dedicated to unconventional solutions, where the CEO prizes “work-life balance” and product cycles seem relatively long? You may want to adjust your cover letter to highlight your creativity and problem solving. You not only need to make your customized pitch, you also need to make it fast: A cover letter is no place for a lengthy biography. Something along the lines of, “I’m interested in expanding your company’s dominance in e-commerce search by applying the algorithm-building skills I learned during my ten years at Google,” is a solid way of getting straight to the point. If you can convincingly demonstrate your potential value, you can boost your chances of a callback from the company.