Careers advice

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple jobs?

Sending the same cover letter in different applications might seem quick and easy, but is it damaging your chances?

When you’re deep into the job search, you’ll be tempted to take any steps possible to make your hunt more efficient.

However, while we’re all about working smart over working hard, sometimes trying to speed things up can damage your job application. Today, we’re going to look at this idea in relation to cover letters.

We’ll look at some key cover letter tips for job seekers, and explore some ways you can tailor yours in your next application.

Can I use the same cover letter for multiple jobs?

In a nutshell, no. In fact, doing this is one of the most common and costly cover letter mistakes applicants make.

But why is it so bad?

Think about the purpose of a cover letter. This part of your application is supposed to:

  • Introduce you to the company or organisation.
  • Show you’re interested in them, and the specific role on offer.
  • Highlight your most relevant skills.
  • Motivate the reader to call you in for an interview.

Looking at that list, it’s easy to see why sending the same cover letter for each job application is unlikely to get the result you want.

What’s more, employers and recruiters can pick out stock cover letters easily. And if they see you can’t take the time to tailor your application, they’ll hear alarm bells regarding your commitment to the role and the company.

You want your cover letter to stand out from the crowd.

How to tailor an NZ cover letter (with examples)

There are a few important pieces of personalisation you should include in a cover letter to help you stand out:

1. The employer’s/recruiter’s name: this goes a long way, especially when compared with the awful ‘to whom it may concern’ (ew). If there isn’t a name on the job listing, have a stalk of the company website. If you’re still unsure, address it to the head of department, or go with 'Dear Hiring Manager'.

2. Why the role and business appeal to you: How does this role align with you and your professional goals? What made it stand out among all the other listings? You also need to explore the business, its goals, mission and history. A lot of this info can be found on company websites.

Showing you've studied the business is a great to way to demonstrate that this is a tailored cover letter.

3. Why you’re who they’re looking for: study the job description, and match your skills to what they’re looking for. Top tip: use your Trade Me Jobs Profile to skim your work experience and qualifications, and cherry pick the most relevant. Using facts and figures to highlight how you can benefit the company will take this part of your cover letter to the next level.

Next, namedrop key skills from the job listing to show what you'd bring to their organisation.

4. Your sign off: use your closing paragraph to hammer home your unique combination of skills and experience, and politely prompt them to get in touch. Remember to finish up with “Yours sincerely,” and your name.

With this knowledge under your belt, you’re in prime position to write a great cover letter that will stand out from your competition. So, what are you waiting for? Time to get cracking!