A cover letter is as easy to come by as going to “Google”, or some other search engine, and typing in “sample cover letter”. There are thousands upon thousands of options out there ready to have information plugged into the appropriate spots and sent out. However, a cover letter like this is generic. The definition of generic is: characteristic of or relating to a class or group of things; not specific. Not specific indeed, that doesn’t tell us much. Let’s look at a couple synonyms– general, common, nonspecific, no-name. Those aren’t very flattering words are they? That is exactly the type of impression a generic cover letter gives. It is a big flashing neon sign that the applicant is generic. It also says to the hiring manager that if the applicant cannot manage to do the work needed to create a personalized cover letter, perhaps they are not committed to doing any work whatsoever.
The key to landing a job interview, and most likely the position, is writing a clear, concise, and attention-grabbing cover letter. A cover letter should make a statement about the applicant, about their qualifications and skills, and about their enthusiasm about their job. It should say everything in as few of a words as possible. This is where generic cover letters fall short, as well. Generic cover letters use basic, rudimentary words which do not keep the reader’s attention or invoke any sort of feeling in them. Writing a cover letter is very much like writing a store in that it has to be compelling, and the word choice is extremely important.
A cover letter is meant to sell one’s expertise and abilities in order to land a job position. By using a generic cover letter, none of an applicant’s own personality or passion is included. The applicant may as well be a robot for all the hiring manager could know. Company’s aren’t looking to hire robots though, and generic cover letters just are not made to fit the job. Company’s are looking to hire real people, with real experience, and real drive which they will throw behind the company. Therefore, a personalized cover letter which conveys these things are the only way to ensure a job interview.
In the thousands of sites mentioned earlier, every one of them will make promises of how their cover letter is a guaranteed way to get an interview. Some of the sites may even promise that their cover letter is so personalized that it will be just like it was written by you. However, that’s just not true. Generic cover letters, no matter how “personalized” the site claim, have a completely different feel than truly personal cover letters. Everyone has different job skills, flaws and strengths, and experience and it is impossible for one generic cover letter to cover all possible angles. Don’t fall for the gimmick, and remember the same type of sales pitch which even makes people consider using a generic cover letter is the same type of pitch one needs to use when selling themselves to a potential employer.
What this all boils down to is, take the time to write a cover letter for each particular job. Yes, this is going to be a more involved process but the rewards are going to be greater. Instead of needing to send out one hundred resumes with generic cover letters, there will only be a need to circulate a select number of personalized cover letters. This will allow the ability to choose the perfect job and encourage one to get excited about the potential of the position. It is not about quantity, it is about quality. In general, for every one hundred cover letters one sends out, they will only receive a response to ten percent. This does not mean the response will be favorable either. Between the option of sending out one hundred generic cover letters, with the return response of ten percent, or twenty personalized cover letters with the return response of thirty percent, which seems like the best method? Additionally, with the latter option, the responses are going to be favorable at least half the time.
Don’t fall into the rut of using a generic cover letter. Strive to create a personalized one catered to the specific job you are applying for and see how easy job searching can really be.