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Customizing Yourself on the Job-Hunt

By Christopher Schonberger

Beginning a cover letter by saying, “I can haz dream Job? My rezumez! let me showz u thm," may seem like self-sabatotage. But what if you’re applying for a position at a site called I Can Haz Cheezburger? Then perhaps you’ve just ingeniously separated yourself from the pack…

This story from MSNBC may be silly, but it highlights an often overlooked tactic in the job-hunt: customizing your application for every job you try to get. Applying for a finance job is little bit different from applying to a place that posts pictures like this, so don’t just send out the same resume and cover letter everywhere. Always check the original job posting and the career section on a company’s website to figure out what skills you should stress. This approach should then trickle down to all aspects of the process—from the resume and cover letter all the way through to the interview.

Another point this "lolspeak" cover letter brings up is the importance of standing out amid the sea of other applicants competing for the same position. Remember when you were taking the SAT IIs and AP exams and teachers used to talk about how it was important not to bore the graders by writing the same cookie-cutter answer as everyone else? Job-hunting may not feel as emboldening and homoerotic as The History Boys trying to get into Cambridge, but the general idea still applies. If you think you really get what a company is all about, don’t be afraid to take a little bit of a creative risk to grab HR’s attention. It could backfire, but it could also be the one thing that separates you from the 200 other recent grads with similar grades and experience.

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