Why You Shouldn’t Copy a Cover Letter from the Internet (Template or Content)

When you’re on the hunt for a job, or simply just feel like a sea change, it can be very tempting to Google the web for cover letter templates that will help you to look like a real pro at piecing a cover letter together.

But, before you head down this path of recruitment-seeking hacks, let us share some of the reasons why you should never copy a cover letter template in its identical form.

1. Relevance
In a super-connected world, you can’t be sure where that awesome cover letter you found originated and what industry it was intended for specifically. Sure, it might read great to you, but does it cross-reference the job advertisement requirements? Does the cover letter feature key words that will be picked up by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), an automated system implemented by recruiters to make their job at hand easier?

It is crucially important that your first foot in the door remain relevant to the job specifications, or your cover letter will be a complete waste of effort.

2. Originality
So, you’re okay with the relevance part of the plan and you’ve decided to steam ahead with your amazing cover letter template. Here’s the next spanner in the works for your little plan. How many employers have seen that exact template over and over again already? Do you really want to look like an average Joe, or do you want to stand out in a competitive crowd with an original cover letter?

3. Origin
Many internet-based cover letter templates are from the United States. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the US, however their spelling is much different to that of Australian English. Check out colour for example (color), or favoured (favored). If you are opting for a cover letter template, be sure to check the spelling and grammar before you send it away.

If you are really are keen to make use of a downloaded cover letter template, follow these basic tips to personalise your letter:

• Stay relevant – be job specific, use trigger words from within the job advertisement
• Be original – remodel the letter into your own flow and style
• Cross-check – be cautious of international spelling and grammar
• Keep it simple – no text boxes or fancy borders, the ATS does not mix well with these. If these items are contained within the template, it is best to remove them.

Remember, you should only send a cover letter with your application if the job advertisement asks you to do so. Make sure you look for this detail before taking the time to write.

If you are seeking some tips on how to apply for a job via email, check out the handy read we have available on our blog here. We also have detailed information on how to tackle an expression of interest application. You can view that also on the blog here.

Cover letter templates vary from site to site. Shop around, but in all cases, stay true to yourself and the job you are applying for.

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