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This is a huge mistake and it s a job candidacy killer! Sample cover letters are meant to be guides not templates. Taking a sample and using it word for word or slightly altering it and replacing the names with your own is an absolute waste of your time and a sure-fire way to not get hired! Why? Because doing it this way completely ignores the purpose of a cover letter. Cover letters are the personal part of an otherwise impersonal document the resume. Your resume is a list of cold hard facts. Your cover letter gets to speak on a more personal human level and to sell you properly it absolutely needs to be personalized.
What I mean is show the hiring manager how much you understand about her and her needs. You re in a similar industry after all. Point out the parallels - explicitly. "Last year we were so overworked four accountants took early retirement. How about your staff?" After you ve established some identification with the recruiter show her what you can do for her. "Well while we couldn t stop them from leaving I could do this... and a surprising thing happened. Of course we d need to talk about how that translates from government to a private firm." Now you re the trusted advisor instead of one more applicant begging for a job.
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But that in itself is difficult enough so why ruin your chances with a free sample cover letter? These types of cover letters just don t cut it for customer service jobs. For one customer service jobs are all about the details. When you use a free sample cover letter there are certain elements there that you will have to change in order for you to find the right tone and the right combination of words to make that free sample as your own. Problem is many of these free sample cover letters are locked in their own time and quality zones. They are so generic that it s almost impossible to try to integrate your personality into them.
Your first order of business should be to make use of the white space at the top of the letter. Most sample cover letters have a lot of space at the top but this doesn t mean that you should do the same. You can use a headline on your cover letter just like copywriters do with sales letters in order to make you stand out. Adding a headline is a unique feature that very few people are using. If you want to add a headline simply think of the most pressing issue that a hiring manager has right now and address it. For example you can use something like "Do you need a reliable person in accounts payable?" or "Are you looking for an experienced elementary teacher?" Keep the focus of the headline on them and it will add pizzazz.