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It's my first time writing a cover letter. I wrote a draft of my cover letter and were thinking if it should be written focusing to the company's requirements for the job or just do something generic is good enough.

Let's say that company is looking for people passionate for what they do, like team work and wants to continue go beyond its limits. Should I write focusing mostly on what the job require like "I'm passionate for coding", "I love to work with teams that match my passion for coding" and "I'm always looking forward to learn new technologies or coding languages"?

If I focus mostly on the job requirements, will my cover letter attract more attention from a point of view of a hiring manager?

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    Assuming that locally there is any competition for positions the person who puts extra effort into each application will spend less time looking for work. A generic cover letter is a waste of time and opportunity. – Myles Feb 11 '16 at 14:28
  • Cover letters are apparently falling out of use. – Joel DeWitt Apr 22 '16 at 13:30
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The general rule of thumb is that the resume and cover letter you submit for any position should be crafted for that particular application.

That doesn't mean that you should rewrite the whole thing, but definitely try to change a few key phrases in order to target that particular employer. It will show the person reading your letter that you put in some effort to apply for their position, and it will also improve your chances.

Consider that quite often the person reading your resume/cover letter is not an expert, but rather an HR drone playing buzz-word bingo with your application.

Is he "enthusiastic"? Is he a "team player"? Does he give an example of programming a doohickey? What about sheering a sheep? He did? Great! The manager can take a look at his resume next!

Let's say that this company is looking for someone with great "enthusiasm". If your original letter reads something like:

To Whom It May Concern,
I'd like to submit my application for the BLA-BLA-BLA position your company has advertised. (fluff).
I believe that my experience sheering sheep in Australia last summer makes me a perfect candidate, etc.
I look forward to hearing from you, etc.

You might change it to:

Dear Human Resources Professional,
It is with great enthusiasm that I submit my application for the BLA-BLA-BLA position your company has advertised. (same fluff).
I believe that my experience sheering sheep in Australia last summer makes me a perfect candidate, etc.
I await your reply with great anticipation, etc.

See what I did there?

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  • yes. Slightly changes that improve what's written. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Never thought of writing the key words so if there are any kind of bot filtering the applications mine would pass. – mxmlc Feb 11 '16 at 17:05
  • @mxmlc - I didn't mean drone to refer to an actual bot, although it could. I 2as simply referring to typical HR employees who help managers screen applicants for a position for which they don't "understand" the qualifications. They just have a list of requirements and try to match them to your resume/letter – AndreiROM Feb 11 '16 at 17:08
  • Right, right... I misunderstood what you wanted to say, sorry. This raised another doubt: if there are two steps filtering (one who doesn't understand the qualifications but if you pass goes to another who understand)? – mxmlc Feb 11 '16 at 17:21
  • @mxmlc - typically, yes. What might happen is a manager says "we need a developer". This manager then gives a list of requirements to HR, such as "3 yrs exp. with C#, knows how to use Github". HR then makes the actual official job description, which might include fluff about being a "team player", or "a great communicator", and all that other stuff which justifies their existence. Then the applications start rolling in. The manager doesn't want to look at all 500 of them. HR selects the top 30, and only those get to the manager (and the manager will know what skills to look for) – AndreiROM Feb 11 '16 at 17:26

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