Cover Letter Pitfalls: Why Social Workers, Teachers & Other Professionals Should Be Wary of Cover Letter Samples  


Cover Letters: The Most Frustrating Aspect of Job Searches!
What do you write? To whom do you address the letter? How long should it be? Do you include a call to action? Most of us really don't know the answers to these questions. So we fire up our internet browser and find a sample cover letter online. We copy it verbatim or paraphrase it just a bit, and stuff it in the envelope with our resume. Then we get disappointed and discouraged when we aren't offered an interview.

Resumes: Why Yours Was Never Read

According to cover letter expert Jimmy Sweeney, the majority of resumes we send to prospective employers are never read. Why? Because there was nothing in the cover letter to compel the reader to go any further. It's unfortunate that most job seekers don't understand that their cover letter should be even more carefully crafted than their resume. It is your cover letter ... not your resume ... which makes that all-important first impression on your prospective employer ... and you will not get a second chance if a bad cover letter blows it for you.

Someone Else's Cover Letter Can Actually Harm You
Because it is your cover letter which usually determines whether or not you get an interview, it should be as unique and dynamic as you are ... not a recycled version of someone else's letter. If you are using a sample cover letter you found in cyberspace, you can be sure that a lot of other job seekers are using it too! And because your prospective employer has seen it before, you give the impression of being a copy-cat rather than an unique person with something to offer the organization.

Other Reasons To Avoid Using Online Cover Letter Samples
Regardless of any claims made by web sites which publish sample cover letters, you really have no idea whether those letters succeeded in getting anyone an interview. And even on the off chance that you actually find a sample cover letter which did land someone an interview, you don't know if it was the cover letter or other factors which led to the interview being granted.

Your cover letter is your own personal sales pitch. The problem is that we all naturally pull back from anything that sounds like a sales pitch ... even the prospective employer who is reading your cover letter. Most online cover letter samples are very poorly worded sales pitches that in no way convey your true worth to your prospective employer.

The job search world is changing. It's a much more competitive field these days. The majority of sample cover letters you see online are not current or properly formatted to today's standards.

Summary: Use Caution With Online Cover Letter Samples
Be very careful about paraphrasing any sample cover letter you find on the web. Unless you're in a field like nursing, where the demand for jobs exceeds the supply, you'd be much better off to create an original, effective cover letter than paraphrasing one you found online.


Click here for a FREE information-packed e-book by expert Jimmy Sweeney. It's filled with excellent tips to help you create the perfect cover letter for your job search.

Jimmy Sweeney is a professional copyrighter and author of the Cover Letter Creator. His specialty is teaching others how to write effective cover letters that get the interview, even if experience is lacking or the resume itself is weak.


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Revised: 09 April 2009

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