Got a one-size-fits-all cover letter and feeling pretty smug about it? The companies you’re sending it to can all tell, and it’s not going to boost your employment chances in any way. Here’s why you should tailor your job applications to the opportunity you’re applying for…

Reason to tailor your application no.1: WE CAN SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING. IT’S QUITE OBVIOUS. 

At GoThinkBig, a lot of the applications come through us before being sorted by individual companies (or, again, us). This obviously means we can see when you’re sending in exactly the same cover letter, CV and standout for every, very different, job you apply for. Eleanor, our opportunities manager, sifts through a load of the applications: “The perfect example of someone not tailoring their CV is when they write something like ‘I am very interested in the work experience you have offered and am passionate about your brand’; there’s no reference as to what the opportunity actually is!” she says. The right way to go about it? Read the bloody thing you’re applying for:

“If it’s an editorial opportunity, talk about how the experience of going behind the scenes, sitting in editorial meetings, attending events, seeing how new features and opportunities are created every day makes you feel excited,” she suggests. Much better.


The best example? Someone recently applied to do editorial work experience with us and kicked off by explaining how they’d always wanted to perform (whether on stage or in front of the camera). This was nice, and good on them, but it’s not clear what they were expecting to get from a week’s placement as a shadow journalist. Would they actually want editorial work experience if they got it? No. They’d want to reenact Les Mis in our meeting room. The whole thing is baffling. 


Alright so, by some crazy twist of fate, nobody notices you’ve not checked what you’re applying for and you get the placement. You’ll hate it! It’s two weeks in a finance department and you want to be a journalist! Or it’s two weeks on a magazine and you want to be an accountant! Nobody wins. 


The person looking through the applications has seen a million “I’m passionate about people” lines and a hundred million letters starting with “I would love to work for your company”. If there’s nothing in the text that shows you a) have previously demonstrated some interest in the particular topic being advertised or b) know what interest you’re supposed to be demonstrating then nobody’s going to bother finishing checking through your application. It’s a waste of your time, the company’s time and, let’s face it, the WORLD’S time.

Why not sign up to this CV clinic, and get your CV looked at by the experts? Go on. It’ll be bloody worth it. 

If you liked this article, why not take a look at…