If you're searching the web for cover letter templates, then it's important that you read every word of this article before you "pick" a template. Why? Because I'm going to show you some of the most common mistakes job hunters make when using a letter template. By the time you have finished reading this article, you will know these mistakes - and hopefully be able to avoid making them yourself.
Mistake Number 1 - Using a Generic Template.
While it may be quick and convenient to use the same generic template for multiple job applications, it's likely that it won't work in your favor. The hiring manager will receive dozens of these for every opening they have, and will spot them a mile off. It isn't worth your time to send numerous generic letters, because your response rate will be very low.
Make sure you take the time to find a specific template for your industry and customize it for your needs.
Mistakes Number 2 - Not Proof Reading.
Communication is a crucial aspect of practically any professional job - and it will be important regardless of the job you are applying for. Constant spelling and grammatical errors will demonstrate a lack of care and attention to detail. These aren't good traits to have when you're applying for a job!
It's a good idea to have your letter proof read by a friend or family member, because they may notice mistakes that you miss.
Mistake Number 3 - Trying To Reinvent The Wheel.
There are plenty of effective cover letter samples available for almost every industry - so there's no excuse for not being able to find a high quality template to base your own letter around. These letters already contain the "hot buttons" which your potential employer is looking for.
It's much easier to use a template to ensure you hit these hot buttons - and it also shows your initiative to use what works, instead of reinventing the wheel.
Cover letters and resumes should always go together. Even when a job ad does not specify a cover letter, send one anyway. The cover a letter is a way for applicants to introduce themselves to a potential employer, so it should make strong impression. In fact, it is the first impression. Cover letters are not a reiteration of the resume. Instead, they should be used to emphasize whatever qualities make the applicant ideal for the job opening. The resume will give the details about schooling, employment history and similar qualifications. The cover letter is there to make sure the employer is interested enough to read the rest.
A cover letter must appear absolutely professional. There should be proper spacing and margins of a standard one-inch size on the top and bottom as well as the sides. Use a common, easily readable font, such as 12-point Arial, which should be used for the resume, as well. There cannot be any errors in spelling, grammar or punctuation. It should appear to the reader that the applicant cared enough to make the cover letter as close to perfect as humanly possible.
The opening paragraph should mention the position in question and how the applicant learned of it. A company may be looking to fill more than one position, so it is important to be specific Employers like to know how applicants learn of vacancies because it tells them where their ads are most effective.
Next, focus on the qualities from the resume that are the absolute best reasons the applicant should be hired for the position. They should match the qualities found on the resume perfectly. The career objective on the resume should be a match with the open position the applicant wishes to obtain. Do not be too verbose. A cover letter is more like a teaser or a preview, rather than the main attraction. Leave that for the resume.
The last part is contact information, including a phone number at which the applicant may be contacted either for further information or to arrange an appointment for an interview. The cover letter should always end with some form of thanks for the reader’s time and consideration. An actual signature should be written above the typed signature, including the abbreviations of any credentials the applicant holds. For example, a registered nurse would put RN after the name, while someone with a doctorate would add PhD. This includes college degrees, such as AS for an Associate of Science degree.
A good cover letter may be the most important step in securing a new job. It can certainly get a foot in the door. Use it to highlight all the details most relevant to the position, pointing at education, knowledge, skills and even personal qualities that best fit the job description. Perhaps most important of all, be sure that the resume and cover letter are the best they could possibly be. Documents riddled with mistakes and poor grammar will just end up in the rejection file, if not the trash can.