Audience Analysis: Customization is Key

Unless you’re applying to an entry-level position where the employer wants to hire a large number of people and is willing to train them, (such as some student summer jobs, fast food jobs, warehouse jobs etc.), a customized cover letter and resume will help you stand out from the rest. Many experts suggest that you will get more interviews if you create a personalized resume and cover letter for 5 jobs than if you send out the same cover letter and resume to 100 jobs.

Why? Because the average hiring manager looks at a resume for six seconds[1]. That’s it. Six seconds stands between you and in interview for your dream job. If your resume doesn’t immediately show the hiring manager how you’re qualified for this job, then you won’t make it on to the next stage.

Because relatively few people actually take the time to create personalized job application materials, doing this can also provide you with a huge advantage. Stay away from templates and lists of “action verbs” you found on the internet, and take the time to create your own application materials.

To begin personalizing your resume and cover letter, first look carefully at the job ad. Let’s look at an example together. Here’s a real ad for a Marketing Communications Coordinator. When you read it, ask yourself:

  • What tone does it take? How would you describe this workplace?
  • What skills and experience does the position ask for?
  • What soft skills (communications, leadership, etc.) are important?
  • What values do you think the company has?
  • What keywords can you find?


Marketing Communications Coordinator – St. John’s Ambulance

Marketing Communications Coordinator

Vancouver, BC

Are you a new or recent marketing or communications grad that’s looking for an opportunity to make an impact? Is working for an organization that’s driven by a greater purpose important to you?

St. John Ambulance BC/Yukon (SJA) is looking for a Marketing Communications Coordinator to join our team. We’re BC and Yukon’s safety charity. SJA offers first aid training and safety products, as well as provides a range of charitable safety and wellness services to communities. Our humanitarian roots go back 900 years (yup 900, that’s not a typo!). Today, we’re part of the greater St. John network that spans the globe.

The Marketing Communications Coordinator fills a dynamic role that offers plenty of opportunity to hone and grow your skills as you help us make our communities safer. This position provides key support within our small and busy marketing team in our Vancouver headquarters. We’re looking for a self-starter with the ability to work independently on tasks with guidance provided along the way. As a successful candidate, you’ll focus on developing creative and engaging content through storytelling and design. We’re a very collaborative group, and your contribution will be important to help us meet our organizational and team goals.

Sound interesting? Here’s what we’re looking for!

  • 1 – 2 years marketing or communications experience, or equivalent relevant education
  • Experience in written storytelling
  • Experience using Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro), Canva, and other design apps
  • A strong creative eye
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience building social media content and managing social channels, including a working knowledge of Hootsuite and other social media tools
  • Proven knowledge of video creation and editing, including video creation for social media
  • Awesome copywriting and editing skills for web, social, and newsletter/email content
  • A proven ability to meet deadlines
  • Great organization skills
  • Experience with or exposure to media relations is an extra plus

Our office is located next to Oakridge Mall with handy transit access. We offer comprehensive benefits and extra perks like on-site parking (if you’re inclined to drive), a retirement savings plan, and more.

This is a hands-on and exciting role. If you’re a rising star looking for purposeful fit, send us your resume and cover letter. Please include your salary expectations. If you’re selected for an interview, we’ll ask to see a few samples of your best work.

We appreciate and thank you for your interest in our charity. Please note that only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Source: Indeed.


You might have noticed that the tone of the piece is upbeat and casual. It uses exclamation marks and phrases like “yup, that’s not a typo.” A lot of the wording (“rising star,” “recent grad”) suggests they’re looking for a young person who has ambition. It also suggests that this office is perhaps more casual and less hierarchical than other companies. You might imagine that they would value innovation and creativity. Someone who works there would also have to believe in the charity’s work.

It’s clear from the job application that they’re looking for someone with strong writing and graphic design skills, as well as some experience in marketing and communications. Storytelling is mentioned, and they also ask for writing samples if you make it to the interview round. That means your cover letter’s going to be important, since they’ll be using it as evidence of your writing skills. You’ll also want to make sure your resume is well-designed to provide evidence of your graphic-design skills. (This doesn’t mean that you should do something splashy and hard-to-read, but your resume should give the hiring manager a sense of your ability to use basic graphic-design principles).

Analyzing a job posting in this way shows you which of your skills and experiences you’ll want to emphasize. The more experience you get reading job postings, the more you’ll learn which companies to avoid.

Let’s take a lot at how to write an effective resume.



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Business Writing For Everyone Copyright © 2021 by Arley Cruthers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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