I can not count the number of articles, and advice columns I have read about customizing your cover letter. They typically say the same thing: do your research and find a way to match your skills and abilities to the job and environment.
This is easier said than done, but it is sound advice. Here is an example of this type of advice article. It is written for a college student audience, but the tips are relevant for us all.
I know that this is very valuable advice, and yet most of my cover letters are just picking out things from my resume and past work history that match something from the job ad. This is a good first step, and has landed me plenty of interviews, but do these really WOW the hiring manager or committee?
Do any of you have letters that you are proud of? Or that you know were not the right fit?