So, it is about time to write your first cover letter and chase job listings in hopes of landing a dream job. The critical question is “Where do I start?”. You are now at a crossroad with myriads of arrows pointing into different directions. But, which way do you go? Below, we give you a good starting point to initiate this job seeking quest the best possible way.
Cover Letter Sample: How to Customise
A cover letter template or sample is a solid spot to start writing your cover letter. If you have read cover letter examples, then you must have a feel of the right tone the cover letter should have. A cover letter template will show you how to properly format the whole thing.
The next few steps are crucial. Depending on how you will use a cover letter sample, you will either increase your chances of getting a job interview or end up in the reject pile.
For example, copying a sample word-for- word is a huge no. Hiring managers can tell with a single glance whether you are using a template when applying for a role. They have read 100s of such letters and can definitely detect a candidate’s copy-paste work. And, they don’t appreciate it.
Instead, try to:
- Choose a cover letter template that works for you – Browse the internet and you will find a plethora of examples. Then, copy and paste the one you fancy into your word processing software.
- Organise your information – Fill in your details per the structure of the template. Ideally, the cover letter should have a heading (your contact info), followed by the current date and name of the addressee (including company’s name and address), an introductory paragraph where you mention the position you apply to and your interest in the company. The 2 nd paragraph should be a summary of your work experience that is relevant to the role you are applying to. The 3 rd paragraph is all about how your qualification matches the requirements of the position – make sure you provide tangible evidence of your attributes. If you wish, you may add a table within these paragraphs to efficiently convey the information you are sharing. Finish with a thank you and follow up details, and end with a formal closing.
- Proofread the cover letter – When you read the cover letter, it should sound as if it is written in your own words. Chose different adjectives wherever you can and try to alter the phrasing in the template too. The idea is to familiarise yourself with the tone and format of a cover letter using a template and ultimately make it reflect your own experience and embody your voice.
- Format the cover letter – Use Times New Roman or Georgia fonts or another standard, easy-to- read font type whose size is between 10 and 12. Then, format the margins (minimum one inch and no more than 1.5 inches) and ensure the cover letter fits on a single page. Save as a PDF and you are done!
Cover Letter Template – Final Tips
- When using a cover letter template, try to avoid making sweeping generalisations. Instead of just saying something like “My leadership skills are excellent”, which is what the template will probably have, you may say “Over the past X years, I successfully managed a team of X people and increased the organisation’s sales by X%”.
- Watch out for the cover letter format. No such things like emoticons or emojis are allowed. The letter should also be single-spaced, with a space between every paragraph.
- When trying to personalise a cover letter template, a thesaurus may come in handy. However, it is paramount to avoid an extremely formal tone or fancy words. Keep the writing natural as a means to come across as personable and approachable.