Composing a cover letter almost always proves to be challenging, particularly if one doesn’t know what to include – and exclude – in a cover letter template. But, wait. Do companies still require applicants to submit a cover letter, aka application letter, or does a résumé, aka curriculum vitae or CV for short, suffice?
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Composing a cover letter almost always proves to be challenging, particularly if one doesn’t know what to include – and exclude – in a cover letter template.
Do companies still require applicants to submit a cover letter, aka application letter, or does a résumé, aka curriculum vitae or CV for short, suffice?
Do you have any idea how much time a recruiter spends on one applicant’s résumé?
A New York-based job website’s answer to that might shock job seekers.
In a 2018 study conducted by Ladders, the average time a recruiter spends skimming a résumé was 7.4 seconds!
How do you think recruiters review cover letters? Do they even read it thoroughly or do they just skim, too? Even if applicants submit a decently composed copy, one with the right cover letter template used, do application letters still matter to companies these days?
For most companies, the answer would be yes, according to Michael Tomaszewski, a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW).
Scotland-based Tomaszewski, a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) headquartered in Florida, based his “real, definitive answer” from a survey result.
The survey he was referring to, with U.S.-based recruitment professionals as respondents, was sponsored by ResumeLab, an online résumé builder and résumé advice site from Warsaw.
In his 2021 article for ResumeLab, Tomaszewski wrote that 83% of the respondents agreed on the cover letter’s importance. According to them, an impressive cover letter submitted along with a not-so-great résumé can make an applicant be considered for an interview.
To encourage applicants to learn how to create a great cover letter template, here are more results from the said survey:
Numbers don’t lie, as they say. Now that a cover letter’s relevance has been established, it’s high time to know how to create a cover letter template. It might be an applicant’s ticket to that elusive interview – even to getting hired.
The right place to start learning what comprises a basic cover letter template is to first understand what a cover letter is.
A cover letter is a written document containing condensed details of an applicant’s educational and work-related qualifications and accomplishments plus other professional credentials and traits. All given information is deemed relevant by the applicant in relation to the vacant position he/she is applying for.
A cover letter is submitted together with a résumé when applying for a job, though it could be optional (but don’t forget what Tomaszewski revealed).
Here are the eight main parts that an applicant should include in a cover letter template:
Each main part of a cover letter template will be discussed in detail in the ensuing sections of this article.
The first four parts could be the easiest to do when creating a cover letter template because they involve information that is easily obtainable.
This is the part of the cover letter template that contains the applicant’s contact information, namely (and in the following order):
Note: Only include online profile links if necessary for the job you’re applying for.
The section of the cover letter template that indicates the contact information of the employer, namely (and in the following order):
Below is a sample format for the header and salutation of a cover letter template:
[Your Complete Address]
[Your Phone Number]
[Link to an Online Profile, if you have one]
[Contact Person’s Name]
[Contact Person’s Job Title]
Dear [Contact Person’s Surname preceded by “Mr.” or “Ms./Mrs.”]:
If the contact person remains unknown:
[Personnel Manager] or [Recruitment Team]
Dear [Personnel Manager]:
Dear [HR Team]:
A specific sample format:
Jennifer C. Williams, M.A., M.Sc.
120 Clark Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
October 20, 2021
Ms. Lourdes Cuesta
Assistant Principal, College Office
Brooklyn Technical High School
29 Fort Greene Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Dear Ms. Cuesta:
That’s it! As mentioned earlier, it could be quite easy to do the first four parts of a cover letter template. You won’t even break a sweat.
Now comes the juicy – and challenging – parts of a cover letter template. Let’s continue!
The Introduction or Opening Paragraph of a cover letter template is where the applicant will inform the employer about his/her purpose of writing.
This is also the part where the applicant will briefly introduce him/herself to the employer.
The Introduction part of the cover letter template must include the following information:
Below is a sample introduction and let’s start with the salutation part of a cover letter template:
Dear Ms. Cuesta:
The following is a sample one that could be used to follow the previous sentence:
I am [tell how interested you are about your application] to inform you that my [mention the years of relevant experience] fit(s) the kind of teacher that [name of school] is looking for.
The next part of the cover letter template will be longer and will involve more information.
The Middle Paragraph – there could be two paragraphs – of a cover letter template will make the applicant sell him/herself but without being self-patronizing or arrogant.
No wonder Samuel Johns, CPRW, calls this the “hard sell” paragraph in his article for Resume Genius. The University of Colorado Boulder, on the other hand, refers to the middle paragraph of a cover letter template as the “sales pitch” part.
An important reminder, though, from the University of Colorado Boulder: “do not restate everything” found on your résumé.
The Middle Paragraph(s) should contain the following information:
In addition, remember to consistently use the following in the cover letter template:
The last paragraph of a cover letter template is the call-to-action (CTA) part.
The Conclusion part is where the applicant:
As the applicant begins the cover letter with his/her name, the last part of a cover letter template will also include his/her name.
For the Signature part of a cover letter template, the following words or closing phrases (followed by a comma) can be used:
Applicants should mention key measurable results – an applicant’s accomplishments that can be measured – when they make a cover letter template.
The measurable results one can mention in a cover letter template depend on the profession of the applicant. For example, teachers could mention the number of their published dissertations or the number of books they edited, solely written, or co-authored. Social media managers could talk about the percentage of daily engagements they were responsible for.
Some general examples of measurable results include:
If applicants can’t come up with the exact amount or precise percentage, Jacob Share, in his article for LiveCareer, recommended that they use certain terms as replacement. Applicants can use these terms in their cover letter template to avoid coming up with the wrong – or, worse, making up – figures and percentages.
Share, the founder and senior vice president of the Israel-based market consultancy firm Share Select Media, suggested the following words:
Applicants should remember that when making a cover letter template, they should refrain from using unnecessary words.
It’s one way to trim down their cover letter and make it concise and readable.
The editorial teams of the top American job websites Glassdoor and Indeed agreed that a cover letter should ideally be composed of “250 to 400 words” only. Other online sources would propose 350 words, which is still within the range suggested by Glassdoor and Indeed.
In her Glassdoor article, Amy Elisa Jackson, the senior marketing director for hair-care brand Pattern Beauty, enumerated some of the words and phrases to avoid. Jackson compiled those mentioned by experts and HR professionals.
The said article won’t recommend, in general, the following to be mentioned in a cover letter template:
Specifically, Jackson’s article identified the following words and phrases:
For the experts and HR professionals, Jackson wrote that it would be better to be specific in telling a piece of information that would, for example:
All that without the applicant explicitly using the aforementioned words in a cover letter template.
The bottom line is that knowing the right parts of a cover letter template and the right information to put could increase an applicant’s chance to get that job.
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