How to Customize a Cover Letter Template for an Open Position

A cover letter template is a powerful job-seeking tool, but only when used correctly. Avoid sending boring letters and learn how to customize your cover letter for open positions, impress recruiters, and win an interview invite with these quick cover letter writing tips.

Sending out a generic cover letter is one of the greatest sins you can commit when applying for a job. And while learning how to write a cover letter could never be considered anyone's idea of a good time, know that you don't necessarily need to write a brand-new cover letter, from scratch, for every job you apply for.

Aim to create a basic cover letter template for yourself that you can customize for an open position.

Our section-by-section guide walks you through all parts of a cover letter, and offers pointers on what needs to go into - and what needs to be emphasized - in each cover letter section.

Create Your Own Customizable Cover Letter Template

While the age of the cookie-cutter cover letter may be over, a great cover letter template can open doors. Once you get the nuts and bolts of your cover letter template laid out, customizing it for an open position should be fairly easy, as each of the sections must communicate the same underlying messages. You'll just need to tweak your template according to the specifications laid out in a particular job ad.

Job-Winning Cover Letter Template Formula

[Jobseeker's name]

223 First Ave

Massbridge, CA, 91011

[Date] 

[Name of Contact]

[Contact's Job Position]

[Company Name]

111 Second Street

Cambridge, CA, 90111

 

Dear [Name of Contact]:

No one wants to open a letter addressed "To whom it may concern." It's cold and impersonal. Worse, this greeting indicates that you didn't care enough to research the company's recruiters and HR personnel before you sent the message. Since you're taking the time to write this cover letter, dig into the company's LinkedIn or About Us page and find the names of people in charge or hiring so that you can customize the opening salutation. Even the wrong name from the right department demonstrates a sincere interest in the company and position. If you can't turn up the name of hiring manager on LinkedIn, use "Dear Hiring Manager."

[Introductory paragraph]:

Recruiters spend, on average, 20 seconds looking at a cover letter. Don't waste your crucial first sentence with the standard "My name is ____, and I'm applying to the open role of ____." This advice sounds counterintuitive, but the hiring manager already knows which roles are open. Get straight to the point and write a powerful first sentence that quickly defines the unique qualifications you'll bring to the role, like "With X number years' experience with [skill] and [skill], I can bring an advanced level of expertise and professionalism to [open job position]."

[Body Paragraph(s)]:

When it comes to your cover letter, less is more. Hiring managers aren't interested in flowery prose: they want to know how you alone can improve the company. You started strong with your qualifications, now prove it. The body paragraphs need to focus on relevant skills and abilities that relate to the job requirements. Use quantifiable facts from your professional contributions, concentrate on your most relevant and transferable skills, and how you'll apply your qualifications to the new role.

Reread the job description for repeated phrases and responsibilities if you're struggling to come up with compelling examples of your qualifications. This quick step will help customize your cover letter for open positions, optimizing your letter for applicant tracking systems (ATS).

[Concluding paragraph]:

End strong by assuming that you and the hiring manager with speak again. Note that you look forward to hearing from them and also note your general availability for a phone screen or interview. Thank them for their time, and note the best way to contact you (phone or email).

Additional Cover Letter Tools

 

If you're still struggling to write your cover letter, or lay the groundwork for your reusable cover letter template, consider checking out the cover letter examples that My Perfect Cover Letter provides. You'll find further guidance on how to customize a cover letter, plus a quiz that provides answers to some of the most common cover letter questions.