“Isn’t there an easier way to write cover letter? Can I use a generic one? They take so long to write…”

Yes, cover letters take time, and actually they should. Because you want the employer to know and feel that you are focused on them and the position they need filled.

That said, there are sort of generic things that you can put in a cover letter, specifically things about you and your skill base. Here’s the system I recommend:

  1. Get to know yourself and your ‘core value proposition’ – what distinguishes you as far as skills, talents, abilities, style, personality.
  2. Come up with 3-5 stories that illustrate your CVP and various aspects of it. Focus on your two or three most recent positions.
  3. Craft a resume that showcases your CVP and gives specific results that show your impact. Then you can say “as you will see from my resume…” and they will.
  4. Develop a ‘must have list’ of what you must have in a job for you to be happy and do your best work. There are six elements.
  5. Apply for jobs that will use your ‘core value proposition’ and meet your ‘must have list.’
  6. Write a cover letter that matches your ‘CVP’ to the job, using examples to show what you’ve done in the past and then saying how you will use these abilities to further the employer’s goals. You can use an easy chart, comparing the elements of the job description and requirements to your experience. Be specific.
  7. Literally tell the employer “I will bring these skills to the position, and produce the same kind of results.” Tailor that to the job at hand.
  8. Use language from the employer’s job description, so you are literally “speaking their language.”

If you’re only applying for jobs that use your CVP, you will develop “boilerplate” language to describe yourself, and then target the specific job and company and tailor your cover letter to that. Specificity works, and ends up making it easier to have a successful job hunt.

To show the employer that you are serious about wanting their job, you’ll have to research the company, pay close attention to the job description, and make sure you’ve made the right matches between your skills/abilities and their needs. But you won’t have to write about yourself from scratch.

Putting in the extra work in the beginning pays off in the end.