The Benefits of Using Cover Letter Templates
Cover letters, being somewhat antiquated and rarely used, can be a bit of a mystery to put together when they are required as part of a job application. Whether you are a young professional with little experience writing cover letters or a seasoned professional, cover letters can be tricky. Enter cover letter templates.
Cover letter templates are a great resource to help you answer questions about what to include in your cover letter and how to format it. Since cover letters are meant to be short--roughly 400 words--each piece of information you include needs to be deliberate and purposeful.
Checking out different cover letter templates and learning the basic formats and necessary components will benefit you in your current job search and in any future searches. Ultimately, cover letter templates act as a step-by-step guide for writing your own cover letter. Keep in mind that the best template for your cover letter could change with each job application.
The Wrong Way to Use a Cover Letter Template
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.
The Correct Way to Use a Cover Letter Template
Cover letters are meant to give the hiring manager a glimpse into your accomplishments as well as your personality. They put your experience into perspective for each job you apply for, showing the hiring manager why and how you would be a great fit. Cover letter templates can be especially valuable when transitioning careers because you can highlight specific skills and experiences.
Each cover letter you write should expand on only the most relevant and valuable pieces of your experience pertaining to the job. Using measurable results while writing your cover letter--think percentages, dollar amounts and other numbers--are the cherry on top of the perfect cover letter.
Cover letter templates hold most of their value in their structure. One of the trickiest parts of writing a cover letter is just figuring out what goes where. Use a template to help you set up your paragraphs and sections. The content and headings within each section will vary from person to person.
Take your time browsing cover letters, and remember that one template might work well for a particular job, while another will work better for another job. Your cover letter should remain extremely malleable throughout the application process. Do not use the same one for every job.
The example below shows a well-constructed cover letter template. The headings show the framework of a basic cover letter. The information below those headings are examples of how to fill in those blocks. A framework is exactly how you should think of a cover letter template.
How to Make Your Cover Letter Template Your Own
The point of a cover letter is to make your personal skills and accomplishments shine. While using a cover letter template will help you organize your cover letter and generate ideas for what to include, making your cover letter your own is crucial to the process.
Your letter template will be your guide to writing your personalized cover letter. The correct way to use a cover letter template is to not copy the content in the sections exactly. Rather, determine which sections and information make the most sense for you and the job your are applying for, and mold your cover letter to fit that information.
In order to customize it to both you and each job you apply for. At every stage of the writing process, ask yourself, “is this the best depiction of me?” and “Is this relevant to the job?”.
These questions mean that you should not be using the same cover letter for every job you apply for. While the structure can remain the same, the content needs to be tailored carefully for each job.
A big part of customizing your cover letter is research. Do research using the job posting, company website and similar resources. This research will help you direct your cover letter, and it will better prepare you for a future interview with that company.
Final piece of advice, don’t think cover letter as a the traditional cover letter. Think of it as a message to introduce yourself and why they should meet with you. It can be casually professional.
Free Cover Letter Templates
- 20 Jobscan-approved cover letter templates
- Cover letter and resume templates
- Choose from 18 different cover letter templates
- Create multiple cover letters for each job application
- Cover letter templates by country
- Cover letter templates by Microsoft
- Basic cover letter template
- Forbes suggest this cover letter template
- Cover letter template from Princeton University
- Cover letter template for Australia
- Cover letter templates for UK
- Choose from 5 free cover letter templates
- Cover letter template for banking
- Cover letter template from Columbia University
- Three styles of cover letter templates
Cover Letter Templates FAQ
What is a cover letter template?A cover letter template is an outline or guide to use while writing your cover letter. Think of it as the skeleton or outline of your cover letter.
Where are the cover letter templates in Microsoft Word?While Microsoft Word does not have a cover letter template, Microsoft Office does.
What is the difference between a cover letter and a resume?A resume is a technical document listing your measurable work history. A cover letter expands upon the most important and relevant aspects of your resume.
Is a cover letter template the same as an example?Some cover letter templates are examples, while others are blank except for headings. If you are less familiar with cover letters, you may benefit more from using cover letter examples alongside your template.
Jobscan Learning Center The Jobscan Cover Letter Learning Series
How to write a cover letter that will get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers
A rundown of the various cover letter formats and how to determine which option is right for your job search
Cover letter templates and guidance that provides structure and foundation for your own cover letter
These cover letter examples will point you in the right direction if you’re unsure where to start