Can't all my cover letters be the same?

Targeted Cover LettersNO! You can’t write the same cover letter for every job. It then is just an extra document, extra page, with no extra information.

Almost every day I get this question from a client or inquirer: Can I use the same cover letters for all of them? or “Just write me a cover letter” (and some of those people don’t even bother to find a job they are targeting first.

The confusion about what a cover letter is and is not never seems to go away. Cover letters are sales tools designed to market you for a specific position.

This is why I refuse to write cover letters for a client until they provide me with a position that they are looking for or a company that they are targeting with a cold call campaign. Employers are overwhelmed with resumes and cover letters, they don’t need more off-target items filling up their inbox, jamming their ATS systems, or coming via the mail.

What makes a successful cover letter?

  1. Target
  2. Focus
  3. Specific

How do I do target a cover letter?

  1. Find a job you want to apply for. Open the link and read the job description.
  2. Think about which qualifications you identify with and how you can meet the requirements of the position.
  3. One tactic that works well is to parrot the job description – no, that doesn’t mean you cut and paste it into your cover letter. You take what stands out to you as the critical items in the job description and then explain how you fill the role.


You are seeking an Information Technology Application Analyst with talent in project management to develop analysis, timelines, test parameters, and training plans as well as maintain vendor management in your deployment of projects and systems.

My role with Pioneer Marketing was as a Project Manager of multiple complex projects for customers throughout the nation. I valued customer relationship management and retention as a core of our growth and development and personally interfaced with customers both when things were going well and when customers had a concern or challenge, building a reputation for exceptional customer service.

You are seeking someone with knowledge of information systems development, implementation, and management. I do possess an Associate Degree as an IT Programmer / Analyst from Universal College but in addition to that my years of experience with Pioneer Marketing have given me an in-depth knowledge base of system development, database solutions, project management and implementation. I can easily transition these experiences to meet your needs and apply them to your healthcare environment.

The above is the guts of a cover letter written in August 2010 and this individual landed the new position in January 2011 and it fit his background well.

What if I have multiple targets?

Face it, job search is hard work but as with anything, if you invest in doing it the right way you get rewards. Often you have less to change once you have the first cover letter written but just blasting cover letters or resumes will not get you results. You need to target your job search, personalize it, and then success will be your reward.

Stuck in your job search or existing position? Don’t know how to get unstuck? Hire an expert to do it for you. You will hit your target much more quickly and be doing what you do best instead of trying to figure your way through the job search maze. To find out how, Click here!

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.