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Do cover letter templates work?

by Karen Watson on June 19, 2014

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Just as resumes should be ideally customized for every position, your cover letter too should reflect your interest in the position applied for.

Most recruiters need to sort through a pile of applications before they find some that fit the position description. Next, these have to be read through before zeroing-in on a select few that will be considered for the post. Considering the amount of sorting that a recruiter may need to do, it is logical to assume that even the best applications could find themselves in the ‘rejected’ pile. This can happen despite the fact that these resumes and cover letters might have been among the better ones.

Why would someone use a cover letter template in the first place? The answer is, templates make it easy to create. There is a fixed block or lines of text and all you have then do is, enter the name of the employer or recruiter it will be sent to. This is all very fine and if you proof your template well, you will likely not have too many errors while saving yourself time.

Then why is it not a great idea to use a cover letter template? Firstly, cover letter templates can be very easy to spot. In the process, they reveal a job seeker to be unenthusiastic or plain lazy. It doesn’t take much logic to figure out that appearing lazy in your job search can kill all your chances.

Here are two points that merit serious consideration before you start sending out applications based on cover letter templates.

If your cover letter has to reach out to the employer, it has to highlight your accomplishments:

Cover letter templates are way too generic. The usual kinds will introduce you in the first paragraph, speak about your experience and education in the body, and finish with a hope of hearing from the employers. But this is not enough to cut through the clutter of applications that a recruiter faces.

Your cover letter needs to reflect that you understand the employer’s requirements:

Say for example, you are applying for a managerial position and your cover letter is highlighting the fact that you have experience relevant to the position. But this may not be enough, because the employer may want a candidate with some knowledge of employment policies as well. Faced with a pile of ‘dry’ applications, a recruiter will not stop to look at your resume if your cover letter seems irrelevant to the position.

Do cover letter templates work? by

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