So you’ve found a job posting that feels like it was made for you. You feel like you’d enjoy and excel at the role, and the company seems like a great place to work. You know it’s important to tailor your resume, so you’ve spent time customizing it to show off everything that qualifies you for this position.
What’s the worst thing you could do next? Just swap the position title and company name on the cover letter you used for your last job application and hit submit.
OK, well maybe that’s not the worst thing, but it would negate all the time you just spent on your resume. When it comes to cover letters, you want to provide a super concise highlight reel that shows why your background and experiences make you an ideal fit for the position in question. So using the same cover letter each time and just swapping in company names and job titles (at the bare minimum don’t forget to do that!) robs you of a golden opportunity.
But that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch every time—each cover letter you submit can follow the same basic structure and formulas. That’s why we’ve come up with two cover letter templates that will save you some of the time (and possibly agony) that comes with writing a new cover letter for each application. We’ve also included tips for using these templates and a list of elements to include in every cover letter whether you use a template or not (and we’ve also got a few full-fledged cover letter examples for inspiration).
Cover letter template #1: Highlight your past positions
Our first template is position-based. In other words, it’s arranged so that each of your body paragraphs focuses on one of your past jobs or experiences. If you’ve followed a fairly linear career trajectory and it’s easy to highlight how each of your past experiences has fed into the job you’re applying for, you might choose this template.