Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, July 24, 2014
You do sound very well-rounded! With that said, I am glad you are taking some time to alter your cover letter a little bit for each job, so recruiters and Hiring Managers can easily recognize what makes you unique and a potentially great match. Just make sure that the story it tells is concise, and also compelling. But don’t overthink it.
In the cover letter, succinctly point out the most meaningful challenges and successes you’ve had in your professional life – focus on those which most powerfully build your overall credibility. Then briefly explain how these experiences complement one another. Let the reader know why this new opportunity feels like the next exciting evolution of your career path, and how you see it as a way to synthesize the transferable skills and experiences you’ve picked up thus far. The cover letter doesn’t have to be tremendously tailored to each job, but a small amount of customization for each application is OK.
On a side note, though, I do agree with an earlier response from IBM, in that you don’t want to spend too much time on cover letters. Often, candidates are better off investing time and energy in networking and researching prospective companies and opportunities, as opposed to perfecting cover letters, which may or may not be carefully examined by a Hiring Team member.
Although a great resume and cover letter can be key, it’s recommended to get out there and meet folks within your desired industry as much as possible! Find out what kinds of events are happening locally or regionally, and if you can attend as a guest, or volunteer. Sites like Meetup, or those that are specific to your field, may feature upcoming activities. Don’t forget to check out LinkedIn groups, and see who might be a fellow member in the area.
One last thought: To boost your chances of networking success, endeavor to perfect your career story as a conversational (and convincing) narrative. When you meet individuals within your target organizations, or others who can refer you to those who are hiring, have your “elevator speech” ready. It’s crucial that these interactions encapsulate the fundamental facts regarding your skills and passions, just like an effective cover letter should.