A few years ago, I was out of work and desperately trying to find a job. I dusted off the old resume and cover letter and got them prepared to send to my first prospective employer, and after applying for the position I felt much better already.
Then I started to realize that every job for which I applied (and there would be many) would require some edits to my resume and cover letter, and it occurred to me that those are two things that need constant attention, especially when you are looking for a job.
The first job for which I applied was as a reporter for a construction newsletter based in my area. I made a few updates to my resume and cover letter and sent them in.
I knew that my chances of getting that job were probably not as good as they would have been five years ago, so I decided to take what my brother calls the shotgun approach and just start firing out as many applications as possible.
The problem was, not every job was in the writing field, and I soon found myself having to make major overhauls to my resume and cover letter so that they would make sense for the job for which I was applying. I had originally decided to send out 10 resumes a day, and I had to cut that to seven a day just because making those two documents appropriate for each job was so time-consuming.
Much of the resume and cover letter actually remained the same, in terms of my work experience and education and so forth, but I did want to try to re-word my reasons for wanting the job and why I was the right fit for the job in just the right way.
I also wanted to tailor my work experience to the requirements for the job. I was not dishonest about what I could and could not do, but I did make it a point to emphasize that I was proficient in the job skills required on my resume and cover letter.
It did not so much bother me that I had to do a bit of work to get my resume and cover letter into shape for each job. It was just the fact that I had it in my mind that once you had them completed, they could be used interchangeably for any job.
In the end, I was able to find work as a writer. My employer was impressed with my resume and cover letter and I think that was really a big part of the reason I got the job. I am aware that if I ever find myself in the situation again where I need to find a job, and I have to provide my resume and cover letter, it will take more work than I used to think. At least now I know.