Sample Cover Letters ... The Hidden Pitfalls

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You can benefit from sample cover letters as they can help you learn about the constructs of a high quality cover letter.

However, there are some dangers in doing this ...

If you have been sending out tons of resumes and cover letters and are not getting interviews you are probably wondering why. After all, you have the requisite education and work experience required in the job posting.

You are sending in both a resume and cover letter as requested, so why aren't you getting any calls for interviews?

The answer to this probably lies in the type of cover letter you are sending. A lot of job seekers believe it is quite acceptable to copy and paste a sample cover letter and insert their name.

There are certainly innumerable sites on the internet that can provide you with a cover letter example; however there are a few things you should consider before you simply cut and paste a sample letter and make it your own.

The Purpose of the Sample Cover Letter

The purpose of a successful cover letter is to make the employer want to know more about you, to feel the need to meet you in person and discuss the job opening, to get you an interview!

A sample cover letter is really only meant to provide you with the inspiration to create your own. A cut and pasted sample resume cover letter will not highlight your unique skills and experience.

In fact, a sample cover letter simply inserted with your name and address can have the appearance of a 'canned' letter. Prospective employers can spot a cut and pasted cover letter and it often ends up in the trash instead of the 'call for an interview' stack.

What a Sample Cover Letter Can't Do

You do not have much opportunity to give any hints of your personality in a resume; after all it's just a recitation of your education and work experience. In today's competitive job market, many people share similar certifications and occupational backgrounds; what sets them apart is their work ethic, personality, and yes; even passion for the job!

Prior to the interview, your unique qualities can only come through in the cover letter. A generic sample cover letter just isn't going to give the employer an idea of what sets you apart from the hundreds of other job applicants vying for the same job.

Sending out multiple copies of the same tired cover letter gives the impression that you are lazy and are saturating the job market with the same sample cover letter. What employer wants an employee who is lazy and doesn't have an original thought in their head? Not many.

The Benefits of a Sample Cover Letter

But what if I'm not a creative type of person? That's fine. Not everyone is. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and there are some benefits to using a resume cover letter example.

Using a sample cover letter can give you a foundation to create your own; insuring you stay focused on the task at hand. However, the wording should be your own. A sample cover letter gives you the correct recipe; it's up to you to add the ingredients. If you feel as though you truly need a template use the following hints:

? Address your letter to a real, live individual. Avoid the trap of the "Dear Sir/Madam' that is so common in many sample cover letters.

? Specifically state how you found out about the job or who referred you. This will help to liven it up.

? Mention something unique about the company you hope to employ you. Don't use canned wording like 'your successful track record'.

More Resume Cover Letter Examples

There are several websites dedicated to career related issues which can help you build an impressive cover letter. They also provide sample cover letters and examples of other letters related to the job search process.

Roger Clark (BSc) has over 25 years experience in career development & recruitment at a senior level through top management positions he has held with major international companies.

You can visit his "Top Career Resumes" website for a wealth of top quality information relating to the employment market.

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