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How a Free Cover Letter Template Can Cost You a Great Job
A free cover letter template like the sort that you can find in a thousand different places on the Web is about as useless a thing as has ever been invented. It may not seem so on the surface, but imagine if there was a place on the Internet where you could download a pre-written novel, cranked out by novel writing machines, that you could submit for publication. It may seem on the surface that people would respect you for having your name on the novel, but it must be more clear still that the book in question would be unlikely to have any worth whatsoever. In fact, precisely because it is free, you would probably stop to ask how it can possibly be any good. And if you didn't stop to ask that question, believe that the publisher to which you have submitted your ersatz novel, would.
So it is with a free cover letter template. Hiring managers have the onerous task of browsing through thousands of resume cover letters every year and they have specific criteria that they are looking for when they do so. Cover letters that match their criteria get submitted to a short list of resumes that must be read more in-depth in order to find interview candidates. Cover letters that do not, get dumped, along with the resume that is attached. And these people, experienced as they are, know when you have simply downloaded a cover letter. They can tell the difference between a cover letter that has been created from scratch by someone that is serious about themselves and one that has been downloaded from the Web by someone that just wanted a free ride.
Why Manager Hate Free Cover Letter Templates
The thing that annoys hiring managers more than anything about submissions based on a free cover letter template is that they do not impart the sort of information that they crave. Because the author of that free cover letter does not know anything about you whatsoever, he or she cannot say anything that will be in any way relevant to the situation. The two core components from your point of view when applying for a job, are your skills, and why it is that they are a close fit with the needs of the company to which you are making an application.
Since a free cover letter cannot impart any of that information and since it is precisely (and only) this information that the hiring manager needs most crucially, it is hard to see where there can be any benefit in using one of these worthless documents. Instead, take the time to create something thoughtful that reveals interesting information about you and put in the effort to explain why it is you believe the job matches the skills you can bring to the table. In short, make sure that the information you are including in your cover letter is as specific about matching you to that dream job as you can. With a winning combination like that, you can really shine in the hiring manager's eyes.
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