How Much of Your Cover Letter is Reusable?

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A cover letter should be tailored to fit the job that you are applying for. For this reason, do not use the same cover letter more than once. It can be obvious to human resources if you boilerplate your cover letter because it will sound like it can be used to apply to any job. At the very least, rewrite the cover letter content portion that addresses the job in question.

The first body paragraph of your cover letter should explain why you want the job you are applying for. Do your research, and address the human resources manager by name. This may take more time when creating your cover letter, but it will be more personable. Explain how your skills and qualifications match the job description. Even if you are applying for two identical jobs at different companies, you may need to reconstruct this part of the cover letter each time. You should address the company by name and the position and explain why you fit in with the company culture. You may be able to change the name of the company and job title each time, but be very careful if you are doing this. Get someone to proofread to make sure you changed everything and that there are no mistakes in the cover letter.

Expand on the general information about your experience in the second paragraph. Provide specific instances where you took control and led your team or took initiative at another job. You can also use your second paragraph to point out information in your resume that might be overlooked. If you are considering taking a shortcut and reusing any part of your cover letter, then use the middle body that describes you in detail.

A bullet list near the bottom of your cover letter is a good way to attract attention to your skills. Many times an HR manager will only skim through cover letter content and spend just a few seconds looking for something that stands out. A well-constructed bullet list can make your skill set simple to read and easy to find. It's possible to reuse the bullet list in each cover letter if you are applying for jobs in the same industry.

The more you reuse your cover letter, the more it will begin to sound generic. If the hiring manager does not see anything eye catching or interesting in your cover letter it could put you out of running for the position. Rather than reuse an old letter, it's best to start fresh and put forth the effort to prove you want the job. If you decide to use the same information, reword it and make it unique.


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