Posted on Oct 24, 2011

“Please attach your Resume and Cover Letter.” You’ve seen these words a thousand times. And I know it’s hard to think about tailoring your response every time you read them.

But customizing your Cover Letter and Resume to the job/company you’re applying for, can give you the edge you need to get the interview.  And you can’t get the job if you don’t get the interview.

It’s o.k. to start with a generic Cover Letter and Resume, but it should be a starting point, not the end product. And, the first step to making yourself stand out from the crowd is to address the Cover Letter to an “actual” person, if you can.

You’re thinking: “it doesn’t list a name, and I couldn’t find the Human Resources Director on the company website!” Luckily, you’re a savvy job seeker and you have a secret weapon:  LinkedIn!!!

If you’re like 42% of Americans, you spend a lot of time super sleuthing (or “Creeping”) on Facebook to find out details about old High School friends. It’s ok to admit it, we’ve all done it!

Now it’s time to put those “Creeping” skills to work in your Job Search.  The HR Director or VP’s name may be on the company’s LinkedIn Company Page.  Let me show you how to find out.

Say you’re applying for a position at Google. Log on to your LinkedIn account and type “Google” in the search bar.

Once you’ve found the Company page for Google, you would look to the far right where you’ll see “X# of employees on LinkedIn.” Click on that number.

In the top left corner, you’ll find a new search bar. This is where the “Creeping” begins. Try typing in any of the following to see if you can find the head of HR:



Human Resources


Director, Human Resources

Vice President, Human Resources

If you’re lucky, you’ll find the head of HR here so you can address your Cover Letter to them. If you don’t find the head of HR on the Company page, you can also try an Advanced “People Search”. I will show you how to do an Advanced “People Search” in my next blog.

If you did find the head of HR, in addition to being able to address your Cover to them, you can study their LinkedIn Profile to see if there are any clues to information or language you can use to tailor your Resume and/or Cover Letter.  I would also study the Company profile as there is often information on a Company LinkedIn Profile that you wouldn’t find on their website.

After you’ve picked up any clues there, search for the department head on the LinkedIn Company page and use any additional clues you pick up to further tailor your Resume and Cover Letter.

The more you are able to tailor your Resume and Cover Letter to the Company or hiring manager’s language and experience, the more likely you will get an interview and of course, the interview is the doorway to getting the job.

Now, if you find yourself thinking: “why didn’t I already know how to look up an HR person or Hiring Manager on Linked? I could have saved so much time!!!!”,  my “6 Weeks to More Success Through LinkedIn” Video E-course may be just the tool you’re looking for.  The Get LinkedIn Now! Video series has the tips and tricks you need in your Job Search, so that you land the job you want: Learn More.

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  1. This can be a great strategy if you are unsure as to where you should be addressing it. However, if you still cannot get a solid answer I find going with a generic “Dear hiring manager(s)” usually works pretty well as it is gender neutral. The last thing you want to do is address the wrong person!

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