Targeted Cover Letters (and Resumes)

Not too long ago, held a community partners breakfast at their new office at 700 York Street here in London ON. A couple of Talent Acquisition Professionals there mentioned their preferred method of applying for jobs. I noticed that what wants is what job seekers could be doing to benefit the active job search. One point that has stood out is the company’s preference for a targeted cover letter and resume. Your first question might be, “How can a company tell if my application is customized to its role and culture?” Well, it is actually quite easy for an employer to tell if your application to their company is just one of fifty that you blasted out on any given day.

Put yourself in HR’s shoes. You have to get through 200 resumes by the end of the week and decide on the top 5 candidates. They might have 10 seconds to review your resume. After all, these are human beings, too, and they get bored reading the same things over and over again. It is a good idea to find ways to set yourself apart, to make your application interesting. There are so many ways to do this, including your tone, style, word choice and content.

Recently, career development professionals have noticed a striking trend in the contemporary active job search: submitting numerous identical cover letters and resumes with a change in company name and position title will not be a very effective strategy. In fact, it can end up exhausting the job seeker, taking away morale and momentum and replacing it with doubt and frustration. There are ways to customize your applications, but they do take an investment of time. It could take 1-2 hours to complete each new application but the return on that investment will far outweigh the time it takes to create the applications. As a job seeker, it is important to switch up routines and try new things, focusing on curiousity and where things could take you rather than fixating on a definite outcome.

See below for a tool that can help you customize your job applications. It will take time and energy, but your applications will come across to employers much stronger than the blanket application approach. Like any tool, it will not be useful on its own. It is all in how you use the tool that produces results.

In the left column, you will find the duties, tasks and skills of the job. On the right, you will find a place to list your skills, knowledge, and specific experiences. The middle column can be used to put both columns together in a statement to show exactly what you can offer the company. In doing so, you will need to work on ways to connect your ideas because listing a bunch of unrelated points will not sound very good. These can be very simple, like a transition word or phrase but it is important that you also take the time to put your ideas together in a clear, straight-forward, and relevant way. On the second page, you can copy and paste the job ad as that will be the best place to get all the information you will need to complete the application.

Targeting Your Job Applications



Harvard Career Experts Weigh in on Effective Cover Letters (Source CNBC)

Cover letters: something you wouldn’t think of as controversial. But people differ in opinion when it comes to using cover letters and whether they really are an effective tool in the job search.  A veteran Certified Career Development Practitioner (CCDP) here at the LEHC once used this metaphor. A cover letter is like gift wrap; the resume of course being the gift. Anytime you give a gift, it is pretty much assumed that it will come wrapped. What would be the fun otherwise, right? Well, you might say, “I just tear through the gift wrap and throw it in the garbage because all I really want is the gift, not the wrapping.” Still, the expectation is there regardless so as a job seeker you are likely to set yourself apart in a bad way without a cover letter when Human Resources is flipping through those two hundred resumes it just received for one opening.

And, a cover letter can really make all the difference if it is done right. This is your chance to make your case as a human being, a living, breathing, interested, and passionate human being. This is where you can set yourself apart. But it takes time, and a lot of focus and energy. With the eventual exhaustion of a job search, this energy can be hard to come by. You start just changing a couple of names and submitting it because it only takes 20 minutes that way, not 60 or 90. If you invest the time in really customizing the cover letter, the return will be much more advantageous to your job search success. Remember, though, a cover letter is only one piece of the active job search puzzle. Stay tuned for a resource to help you target your cover letters and make them more impactful. In the meantime, you can read what Harvard Career Experts have to say here.

Online Applications Got You Down?

As Career Development Practitioners, we hear that job seekers are growing tired of submitting tens or hundreds of applications into an online black hole. It takes a lot of energy to job search, and it is difficult to keep proactive and positive, which is so important in finding what you are really looking for. As a job seeker, it is wise to find ways to recharge and reinvigorate your job search in the face of no response. Think of your job search routine and see if there are any adjustments that might make you more productive. For example, if you get up first thing in the morning and the first thing you do is start scrolling online, without eating or other self-care, then it might be time to mix it up a bit. Make sure to sleep and eat well, to make time for enjoyable things, and to network in as many different ways as possible. Build a LinkedIn profile, attend local events, reach out to the people you already know. There is no great mystery to networking. As a job seeker, you are only trying to add value in everything you do and show an organization exactly what they are missing out on (you!).

It is also useful, and necessary, to add several elements to your active job search, not just one or two. Remember, the very definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and to expect a different result. Like anything, variety and moderation are crucial in your active job search. It is important to maintain healthy habits and perspective, and remain disciplined, during an active job search, one of the most stressful times in life. The LEHC is here to help. We are a team of professionals that want to guide and support you, taking some of the weight off your shoulders and helping you keep morale in an often very discouraging circumstance. Our team has many resources and suggestions for your job search. Visit us today and renew momentum in your active job search.

Start by exploring these two resources. One is to demonstrate a “five-pronged approach” to job search, emphasizing the importance of utilizing all five elements. The other is a way for you to test your current practices and see where specifically you might modify your approach and strategy. These are simple tools to use but they do take some investment of time on the job seeker’s part. Please try them out, see how they work, improve them. Job Search Strategy FrameworkA simple tool to modify your job search tacticsContemporary Job Seekers need to utilize all five elements of an active job search

How can an Employment Ontario provider help with my job search?

Employment Ontario providers can help you get training, build skills or find a job.
We also help employers train their staff and find the talent they need.

If you are currently working on a job search or thinking about an apprenticeship or retraining, the London Employment Help Centre can provide no cost support to help.

Our Employment Specialists offer one to one counselling to help you develop a plan of action to move forward and can connect you to employers looking to hire.
We also offer job search skill development seminars to enhance the success of your search:

~ Career Exploration
~ Resume / Cover letter writing
~ Labour Market research
~ Informational Interviews
~ Networking
~ Social Media
~ Interview skills
~ Apprenticeship Information sessions
~ Second Career Information sessions

Check out the current schedule and contact us at 519-439-0501 or to set up a meeting with an Employment Specialist, or to register for these sessions.
Seminar schedule

*NEW* Professional Development Training Seminars

The London Employment Help Centre is excited to offer new Professional Development Training Seminars.

Sessions run half days & full days, weekly and monthly and are FREE to attend.

The new offerings have been developed to help enhance your job search skills and employability, increasing your confidence and career success!

Sessions offered:

  • Personal Branding and Assessments
  • Assessment Interpretation
  • Building a Better Resume
  • Cover Letters
  • Employer Expectations
  • Labour Market Research
  • Informational Interviews
  • Networking
  • Social Media for your job search
  • Mock Interviews
  • Mastering Interviews

Information Sessions offered:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Second Career
  • Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)

Check here for more information about these offerings and how to register.






Please share your support to local families this Giving Season

The London Employment Help Centre will be supporting local families again this year through the Giving Season, beginning on Giving Tuesday, November 27th.

LEHC offers no cost services to provide people with opportunities for personal achievement through maximum employment, as well as advocacy and paralegal support for those who need assistance in applying for social benefits. (ODSP, EI, OW, CPP-D)

Caring, professional staff take the time and initiative to ensure that those requiring additional services have received adequate support and direction through an underlying focus on the personal well-being of each individual who comes through our door.

In order to provide this level of individual support, we need your help to rebuild our Basic Needs Fund.

LEHC fundraises annually to help support clients and their families during times of crisis for food, baby supplies, clothing, transportation vouchers, medications and emergency health and
dental care.

Share your support here.

Thank you.

Showing our Local Love at UW StairClimb

The London Employment Help Centre is pleased to support the United Way Elgin Middlesex StairClimb event as part of our internal #Local love Campaign.

Featured here, the LEHC Steppin’ Wolves team getting ready to prowl!
We are grateful to United Way Elgin Middlesex for funding our Advocacy department to help ensure that no cost support is available for anyone in need of assistance in applying for social benefits. (EI, OW, ODSP, CPP-D)
If you or someone you know is in need of this support, please contact us.


THANK YOU for your support to local families!

THANK YOU for your generous support!

LEHC fundraises annually to directly support clients and their families during times of crisis for food, baby supplies, clothing, transportation vouchers, medications and emergency health and dental care. Last year more than 350 families were assisted and the need continues.

Thank you to everyone who joined in our 35th Anniversary Celebration – 80s MUCH Video Dance Party, hosted by Matt Loop & JACK 102.3 and shared your support!


The Celebration continues in recognition of 35 years for community support.

The London Employment Help Centre (LEHC) would like to share a sincere thank you to everyone who joined us for our 35th Anniversary Annual General Meeting and Celebration on June 25th, 2018 at the Goodwill.

We would like to thank the following for the greetings and remarks forwarded and shared at the event:
• MP Peter Fragiskastos
• MPP Peggy Sattler
• Councillor Tanya Park

Thank you to MPP Terence Kernaghan for joining us and bringing special greetings for our 35th Anniversary Celebration.

We were absolutely thrilled to have Bryan Knott and Heather Walton join us and share their personal stories of support in working with LEHC.

Thank you to Dr. Jeff Preston for joining us as our keynote speaker and providing such inspirational words and thoughts through your “Normal Dreams” presentation.

Finally, thank you to all of our funders, community partners, board, volunteers and staff, who have helped LEHC to provide such caring services and support for the last 35 years.
We hope that you will help us continue this Celebration and plan to join us for our 35th Anniversary Celebration – 80s Retro Dinner and Dance Party taking place on Saturday, October 20th, 2018 at the Western Fair District.

All of the proceeds from this event will be directed to support clients and their families during times of crisis for food, baby supplies, clothing, transportation vouchers, medications and emergency health and dental care.

Please save the date!
Thank you for your continued support!

Nancy McQuillan
London Employment Help Centre