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They go on line download a sample cover letter make a few changes to it then send in the modified sample cover letter to a potential employer. This is a huge error on their part. The problem is these sample cover letters and templates are generic cookie cutter documents. They were designed to be an example of what a cover letter should look like. They were not meant to be your final product. They do not show what a unique individual you are. They do not showcase your talents and abilities in a way that will differentiate you from the crowd. Worst of all there is nothing about them that will make them appear any different than the cover letters so many other applicants are sending.
The more sample letters you check out the better understanding you will have of the correct format to use. The heading needs to be in the top left corner. It would be best to begin with the date and then follow this with a blank line. Next should come the title name and position of the person who the document will be addressed to. Keep the information you use relevant to the position you are applying for. This can include brief sentences on your employment background and education. Try not to repeat too much of the information that is contained in your resume. I don t mean to dis the sample cover letter. Job applications demand cover letters.
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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.