Many employers say a good cover letter can really increase your chances of getting your resume read. I believe a good cover letter template can help create that good letter (or email). So I'd like to give you my three tips for using a cover letter template to get the kind of job search results you're looking for.
1. Start with a good cover letter template in Word.
By "cover letter template" I don't mean just a fill-in-the-blank boilerplate. That type of cover letter template usually creates something that sounds like a form letter. Okay, maybe a form letter is better than no cover letter at all... but why settle for that? You can have a great letter if the cover letter template you use is a good one.
Here's how to know if you have a good cover letter template:
- It's a Word template that you can type in, move words around with easy copy-and-paste, create bullet point statements, and adjust the margins and indents. In other words, you can make it your own with your look and feel.
- It has prompts for what to say in each paragraph without giving you the exact words to use. For example, here's the first paragraph of one of my cover letter templates. No matter how many people use this prompt from my template, each letter will be unique.
Dear _____ (Manager or Recruiter's Name),
Start your cover letter with a grabber — a statement that establishes a connection with your reader. Briefly state what job you are applying for.
2. Focus on the employer.
I read so many bad cover letters that are focused only on the job seeker. "I this" and "I that" throughout the letter, with nothing about what the employer is facing or needing. A good cover letter is just the reverse. It addresses the employer's goals and needs, and offers you as the new hire who will help meet those goals and needs. So, in essence, your cover letter should focus on the employer, not you, the job seeker.
That means, to write a good cover letter you need to:
- Research the employer you're sending your resume to so you know what his or her goals and needs are.
- Target each letter to the employer you're sending it to. Yes, one letter at a time!
As we've already said, a good cover letter template allows you to target each of your letters to each of your job applications.
3. Be friendly and professional in your cover letters!
Being professional doesn't mean being stiff and awkward. A good cover letter shows that you are both professional and friendly. How? By using words and phrases that are somewhat relaxed and confident while showing respect to the employer.
I think the best way to explain what I mean is by example. Take a look at this group of sample cover letters to see how your fellow job seekers used friendly professional language to promote themselves and their resumes.
Show Us Your Cover Letter
Now that you have my three tips for using a cover letter template, you're ready to write a great letter. If you'd like some feedback on your new cover letter, I'd be happy to look it over. Here's where other job seekers are posting theirs for my review: Let's See Your Best Cover Letter! Cover Letter Samples.
Need a good cover letter template you can download in Word? Check out my Ready-Made Resumes program. It includes cover letter templates as well as resume templates.