How to Write a Targeted Cover Letter

How to Write a Targeted Cover Letter

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  1. A targeted cover letter is truly no different from a standard cover letter except for the fact that there you are applying to a specific company. 

    Now you may be asking yourself-" Aren’t all cover letters supposed to be targeted to one specific company?" – And the answer to this question is "yes". All cover letters should be formatted with the specific company and position that you are applying for. This may very well mean changing your cover letter each time you submit a resume to an organization; a tiresome however, necessary fact. Cover letters should include the name of the hiring manager if known and the company address. The body of the cover letter should also include facts, figures and specific interest in the organizations mission and values.

    Let’s do a quick example:

    Jane Doe is excited about a new position at XYZ Company and knows without a shadow of a doubt she is going to submit her resume. They are looking for a head chef and she has the skills and the education requirements listed on the job posting to qualify. Before faxing her resume Jane knows that she will need a strong cover letter. She pulls out the one she has been using to submit her credentials as a chef to other restaurants in the area. The body is very generalized and looks like this:   

    July 7, 2010

    Dear Hiring Manger,

    I have over 10 years experience as a chef and feel that my expertise and education will be a good fit for your company. I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience.  Thank you for your time.


    Jane Doe

    Jane looks at the cover letter and feels it should be a bit more conformed or "targeted" to XYZ Company. She has always wanted to be employed with this company and really wants her resume to get more than just a glance.  Jane does a little internet research and re-writes her cover letter to look like this:

    July 7, 2010

    XYZ Company

    Anytown, USA

    Att: John Smith Head of Catering

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    I have over 10 years experience as a chef with emphasis in catering (you could be more specific here) and feel that my expertise and education (put the specific education title, for example; bachelors or certificate in catering) will be a good fit for XYZ. It is well known that XYZ has been a family favorite in catering for over 25 years and I am excited about the chance to be a part of XYZ’s success.   I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience. 

    Thank you for your time.


    Jane Doe

    As you can see in the second example, Jane did research and located the name of the individual who more than likely will be a part of the hiring decision as well as a fact about the company. By doing this whoever reads the cover letter will notice Jane’s enthusiasm in the company and may give her resume a longer look. The difference in the two letters is that she "targeted" the company’s name as well as her enthusiasm about the one company.

    In a generalized cover letter you create more of an overview about your capabilities and you are able to use the cover letter over and over again by just changing things like the date, and the job title.

    Remember that your cover letter is usually the first initial contact you have with an employer. It is the introductory letter showcasing your skill set and is the warm up to what your have displayed on your resume. You only get one shot at a first impression so make it count!

    Best of luck in your career search!

    See other sample cover letters here:

    Or get assistance crafting your targeted cover letter!

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