Here at Jobscan, we spend a lot of time talking about resumes. We even wrote a whole page about resume templates. Just like there are with resume templates, there are also right and wrong ways to use cover letter templates.
One of the incorrect ways of using a cover letter template is to simply rephrase exactly what your resume says. Why? A cover letter is not a resume. The purpose of a resume is to pull out the most important parts of your work and educational history, sharing only brief, measurable information about each part. The purpose of a cover letter is to pick out a few of the most relevant pieces of information from your resume, and use them to back up your explanation of why you are the best candidate for each particular job. Your cover letter builds on your resume, it does not mirror it.
Another incorrect way to use a cover letter template is to choose the very first template you come across. Sure, that template could, in theory, be the best one. However, your goal when searching for the correct template is to find one that fits both your work experience and the job you are applying for seamlessly.
Even when you find the best cover letter template for you, it is important that you don’t mindlessly enter the information that the template suggests. Be picky about what you decide to include in your cover letter. If the template suggests adding a particular piece of information that you find irrelevant to the job, don’t include it.
Furthermore, never copy and paste into the template. Open a blank document beside the cover letter template and start writing your cover letter from scratch, using the template as a reference. Copy and pasting won’t only keep you from being critical, it may also create formatting errors and eliminate and important stage of the editing process. Recruiters can spot copy and pasting from a mile away, and they will stop reading as soon as they recognize it. If a cover letter doesn’t show effort, you won’t seem serious about the job.
In fact, don’t even use a template (funny how we mention this in a cover letter template post). Write one from scratch as if you were writing to someone you already know (imagine the recruiter is your childhood friend’s buddy). Your personality will come across and you won’t sound like a genetic clone of another candidate. But if you’re running blank, we have templates for you to reference.