Using a Sample Cover Letter: How to Make Yours Stand Out
It’s no secret that more and more people these days are looking to find a new job. That’s why it’s so important to have a resume and a cover letter that get you interviews. Many people use a sample cover letter in order to skip the painstaking process of writing a letter for their new job. As simple as this may be, they aren’t taking into account that there are dozens of other applicants out there using a sample cover letter. From the hiring manager’s perspective, anything that looks like a sample cover letter is a sign of laziness and lack of initiative. Since you definitely don’t want to be part of that group, it’s a better idea to tweak your sample cover letter significantly in order to be unique.
A sample cover letter is appropriate to use as inspiration for your own cover letter, and nothing more. Your cover letter should be one of a kind. If it’s not, chances are a hiring manager has already seen something a lot like it. Your first order of business should be to make use of the white space at the top of the letter. Most sample cover letters have a lot of space at the top, but this doesn’t mean that you should do the same. You can use a headline on your cover letter, just like copywriters do with sales letters, in order to make you cover letter stand out. Adding a headline to a sample cover letter is a unique feature that very few people are using.
If you want to add a headline, simply think of the most pressing issue that a hiring manager has right now and address it. For example, you can use something like “Do you need a reliable person in accounts payable?” or “Are you looking for an experienced elementary teacher?” Keep the focus of the headline on them and add pizzazz to a sample cover letter.
Sometimes a sample cover letter will use the wrong tone. For example, many will speak in the third person with sentences that end with “it was achieved” or other similar statements. Hiring managers want to know what you can offer them in the future and not what was done in the past. Your past experiences can inform your present and future skills, but be sure you’re framing them in the right way. Leave out the details of you jobs – that’s more appropriate for the resume – and focus on the overall picture. Use the present tense so you can tell the company what you can do for them in the present.
These tips are just a few ways that you can make the most out of a sample cover letter. There’s nothing wrong with samples, but you have to understand that you need to do some work in order to make them stand out and be unique. You don’t want to be the fifth person to turn in the same cover letter to a hiring manager. Take some time to apply these steps and you’ll be able to see better results from your cover letters.
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