Customizing Each Cover Letter and Resume to Get the Job by LawCrossing

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Preparing cover letters and resumes for a job search mailing. Each letter and resume must speak directly to each individual employer, proving that you are the perfect candidate for each job you apply for.

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                            Customizing Each Cover Letter and Resume to
                            Get the Job
                            [By Mary Waldron]
                            When preparing cover letters and resumes for a job search mailing, you should never consider submitting two of the same
                            cover letter—or even two of the same resume, for that matter. It is invaluable to know as much as possible about the
                            jobs you are applying for, so that your letter and resume can be focused and concise. Each letter and resume must speak
                            directly to each individual employer, proving that you are the perfect candidate for each job you apply for.




Most people search for jobs online, in the         in a quick line at the close of your letter. That   It is also vital that your resume reflect the
want ads, and through friends and family,          way, employers know you are reading up on           research you have done on the company
sending general cover letters and resumes          and studying their companies.                       you are applying to. Evaluate your range of
to every lead, just to get the material out                                                            skills and employment history, making the
quickly and avoid losing out to competition.       Be careful not to regurgitate information that      proper adjustments to demonstrate that you
This is job search suicide. When potential         the company already knows. For example,             are right for the job. Again, know what types
employers read your cover letter, do you           Googling a company’s name and then copying          of cases and work the company handles so
think they want to hear about you? Well, yes,      and pasting a line from the overview on their       you can keep this information in mind when
they do want to know something about you,          website is not going to impress them. For           narrowing down your sharpest, most relevant
obviously. But they want to hear more about        instance, do not say, “Fulbright & Jaworski         skills and most applicable job experiences. If
their companies. They want to see that you         was voted among the ten best firms in the           you are applying for a position in a law firm,
have done the research, that you really know       country for environmental law.” A better            it clearly is not essential to mention your
what sort of position you are applying for,        choice might be something like this: “The           summer job at Burger King in 986.
and that you are excited about and qualified       experience and knowledge I acquired during
for the job. Before composing a cover letter,      my internship with environmental law firm           Also, avoid listing skills that an employer
research the company by visiting its website,      Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, specifically with          can assume you have, such as proficiency in
reading relevant articles, and talking to          issues related to implementation of the 990        Microsoft Word. If you have graduated from
others about its reputation.                       Clean Air Act Amendments, can complement            college and law school, you have probably
                                                   your company’s notable and extensive work           encountered Word a few times, making
After you have learned a sufficient amount         in clean air and water.”                            it redundant to list proficiency in it as a
about the company and where you would                                                                  skill, unless, for some reason, advanced
fit in, if hired, evaluate yourself and decide     All job listings are different; some provide        knowledge of Word is very specific to the job.
what you can bring to the mix. What skills         all of the necessary information for a
and experience do you possess that will            cover letter, including the company name            If you have a long work history, only
apply to the open position’s specific tasks        and address, as well as the name of the             reflect the last five to ten years of work,
or goals? For example, if you are applying         contact to whom you should send your                depending on how many jobs you have
for a position in an environmental law firm,       materials—but this is not always the case.          held. Since employers typically spend less
research its current cases and latest news.        It is imperative that you attempt to find out       than one minute perusing your materials,
Maybe the firm is currently working on an          any missing information in order to compose         you are doing yourself a favor by omitting
air pollution case and you just happen to          and format your letter correctly. Writing           unnecessary and irrelevant information…or,
have worked on a similar project during            “To Whom it May Concern” is a very bland            rather, junk.
your internship last summer. Tying in your         and impersonal way of addressing a letter;
expertise with the types of cases and work         however, if companies or contacts wish to           Craft your cover letter and resume carefully,
a firm deals with is key in a cover letter.        remain anonymous, leaving no clues as               so that by the end of reading them, the
Also, do not be afraid to congratulate your        to who they are, you have no choice. If a           employer you’ve tailored them to believes
potential employer on current wins or              company intentionally remains anonymous,            you are the only one capable of doing the job.
advances within the company. Of course, be         it probably will not hold it against you if you
brief and professional about it; maybe throw       write “To Whom it May Concern.”


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