A cover letter serves as your introduction to the company as well as a sample of your writing skills. The cover letter gives you the opportunity to clearly state your skills and experience that apply directly to the position they posted. Rather than hoping they can connect the dots between their needs and your experience, the cover letter enables you to do that.
“So, my skills and experience are what they are so there is no need to customize a letter.” I often hear that lament from students but they are clearly missing the point. The cover letter is your opportunity to focus on the relevant skills and experience for the specific position to which you are applying. You have best chance of success with this position if you are able to tie your skills and experience to the specific needs of the position.
Generic cover letters will never yield the same results. Most hiring managers can easily spot a generic cover letter. Even when students try to cut and paste the company name and the specific position into a generic cover letter, it is usually obvious that it is still a generic letter. This also opens the opportunity to miss a cut and paste with the result being a letter with the wrong company name or position title. That careless error most likely results in a trip to the “no pile.”
Demonstrate your strong interest in the position and the company as well as your professionalism by crafting a customized cover letter for each position. If the job is worth applying to, it is worth taking the time to customize the cover letter.