Every Christmas, my family gets a Christmas card from one of my extended family members. It is always nice to know someone is thinking of us though often he just signs it without a personal message. One year, he didn’t even sign it. He just inserted his business card.
This makes me think of cover letters. Cover letters are an expected part of your job application. But how you write that cover letter makes the difference! If you write a bland, templated cover letter, you risk having the reader treat it like a generic Christmas card. Stereotypical and disposable. The sentiments don’t ring true and your seeming lack of effort could actually be a turn-off.
I appreciate that our family member makes an effort to mail a Christmas card. But how much more meaningful would it be to include a few personalized lines? Sending cards at Christmas is culturally expected. But why go through the motions if it comes across as a formality?
Let’s tie that back to your cover letter. Employers want to know that you want to work for them. They will not find value in a cover letter that reads like a form letter. Now imagine that your cover letter was clearly targeted it to the company you are applying to! It showed that you had researched the company and were familiar with the job posting. In your cover letter, you shared about how you could fulfill the job responsibilities. Your personality shone through and revealed your motivation to do the job.
That’s a cover letter that I would want to read!