Do custom cover letters really matter?

6 mins read


10 June, 2024

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Every detail of your application counts. While resumes provide a summary of your qualifications, a custom tailored cover letter can be your secret weapon to make a memorable impression. But do custom cover letters really matter? The short answer is: it depends (1). In this article, we'll see why, and we'll give you some tips that can be quite useful.

When Cover Letters matter; and when they don't

When Cover Letters Are Important

  • Competitive Roles: When multiple candidates have very similar skills, a custom cover letter can help you stand out (2). In this case, you can use it as a way to show your passion for what you do, as well as your desire to work for that particular company.

  • Career Changes: When changing industries, a cover letter can be quite important. In this case, the company will be asking why you want to make this transition, and the cover letter is your opportunity to answer this question. As an added bonus, you can also talk about transferable skills that will benefit the employer.

  • Small Companies: Skills can be learned. But your personality most likely will not change. This is why, in small companies in particular, a good cultural fit can be more important than the just the skills themselves. And the cover letter is your opportunity to highlight your personality and why you would be a good cultural fit for the company.

When Cover Letters Might Not Be Necessary

  • Automated Application Systems: Many large corporations or tech companies rely heavily on automated application tracking systems (ATS). In these cases, cover letter usually do not play a huge rule (In this case, you should focus on getting the right keywords in your resume).

  • Role-Specific Applications: Depending on the industry and job, a cover letter may not be required. For example, the hospitality sector usually prioritize immediate skills and availability over detailed cover letters.

Customization is crucial

Cover letters are mostly relevant when they allow a hiring manager (HM) to distinguish you from another candidate. So, if a HM is looking at two similar candidates, and one has a generic cover letter, and the other has a custom cover letter, specifically tailored for that position, which one do you they will prefer?

This is why a custom cover letter is crucial. And the tips below can help you distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Capture attention

You can grab the hiring manager's attention by speaking directly to their company's needs. Focus on the experiences and achievements which are relevant to the position, and show that you have good knowledge of the company’s objectives or some recent changes. This proves that you are not only competent, but also interested and eager to be involved.

Highlight Relevant Skills

When you write a custom cover letter, you can focus on highlighting the experiences and the skills that set you apart for this job. This means that the more you match your qualifications with what is required in the job, the easier it becomes for the person hiring to understand why you are the best candidate.

Demonstrate Genuine Interest

A cover letter for a specific position is a sign that you are not randomly applying and do care about the job. This can help you to be seen as motivated and interested in the company, which can be beneficial when trying to seek a new position.

What else should you consider

To create an effective custom cover letter, you should consider the following elements:

1. The company itself

When you apply to a company, the person hiring you will ask themselves if you just want a job, or if you want to work for that specific company. Because of this, if you can show that you know the company, itss values and itss mission, this can set you apart from others. If you can show that these values are aligned to yours, you can create a personalized and emotional connection with the person on the other side, and this is likely going to help you.

2. The Job-Specific Language

The language that a company uses is carefully considered. And that company likely wants someone who speaks in a similar tone (3). This is why your cover letter should mirror the language used in the job description. Besides this, you can also find the most relevant keywords in the job description, and highlight these in your cover letter, and this will increase your changes to pass the automated Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), if the company is using them.

3. Highlighting Relevant Achievements

If you can, identify a few examples of previous work experience for the most important requirements of the job you are applying for. This could be an activity where you showed proficiency in one of the skills expected of you, or an accomplishment that in some way relates to the goals of the job. Be brief, but provide concrete numbers whenever possible.

Practical Tips for Personalization

  • Personalize the Greeting: If possible, find out the name of the hiring manager and address them directly. This will make you stand out considerably (4).

  • Align Your Goals: If you are focused on a particular position, explain why you are attracted to this specific job and how it will help in achieving your career goals.

  • Show Enthusiasm: If you can connect with a personal on an emotional level, you are more likely to be successful. Enthusiasm is an emotion that can be quite contagious, and so, if you can show that you are excited to be part of this company, the other person is likely going to pick up on this sentiment.


Simply put, an engaging cover letter often sets you apart from others. While not always needed, especially in some industries and in companies with automated systems, its importance in many applications is undeniable, and you should always consider adding one - as long as you can personalise it.

Free custom cover letter generator

Now that you know the importance of a custom cover letter, you might be inclined to write one yourself. And you should. But, do you have time to write one for each position you want to apply? Likely not. But, this is exactly why we created an AI based Custom Cover Letter generator, completely free to use!

Our free AI Custom Cover Letter Generator uses the details from your resume and from the job description in order to create tailored cover letters instantly. This is how it works:

  1. Upload Your CV: The system will pick out main points about your work history, skills etc., based on what you have provided in your resume.
  2. Add the Job Description: Enter an official description of the post that interests you most at this particular time.
  3. Get Your Cover Letter!: That's it, you get a custom cover letter, specifically tailored for that specific job position, almost instantly and completely free.

But, please note that while our software can do wonders and save your considerable time and efforts, you should never forget to give it a human touch. Remember to review and edit the generated cover letters to make it sound less robotic, and to give it your own personalized voice. This will make it more likely to resonate with the person reading it on the other side. That being said, happy (job) hunting!