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Cover Letter Tips

How to Write a Generic Cover Letter (and Still Make a Mark with It)

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Having a generic cover letter prepared to accompany your resume is always a good idea. Say what? Most career advice blogs will unanimously tell you that you need to customize your cover letter to every job you are applying to. That’s the advice we also stand by at Freesumes. But to every rule in life, there are some exceptions. 

Why Would I Use A Generic Cover Letter?

Having a generic cover letter for a resume makes sense in the following cases: 

  1. When you are submitting your resume to the company for general consideration. A lot of employers these days prompt people to pitch them their resume even if they don’t have open roles at the moment. Doing so is a good way to ‘get your foot in the door’ and get on the recruiter’s radar. So when a new position for your skill set becomes available, you’d be among the first to get considered or called up. 
  2. When visiting job fairs. Job fairs are an excellent way of building up your professional network as a recent graduate. Since you don’t know which companies would be there and whom you may get interested in, having a printed generic cover letter with a resume can come in handy. 
  3. If you plan to use a staffing agency. Another situation when a generic cover letter is perfectly acceptable is when you are planning to search for a job in-directly, via an agency. 

In other cases, that is when you are applying to jobs posted online, it’s best to write a personalized cover letter

But since writing doesn’t come naturally to all of us, you can (and should!) create a general-purpose cover letter and then personalize it for each position. This way, you won’t waste hours, staring onto a blank page or gathering your thoughts whenever you’d want to jump on a freshly posted opportunity.

And remember: speed is often key. Data from Smart Recruiters suggests that people who apply within the first 4 days after the job is posted have a nearly 65% higher chance to get considered than later applicants. 

How to Write a Generic Cover Letter To Speed Up Job Applications 

A pre-made generic cover letter template that you can easily customize can be a true time-saver. Instead of fretting over clever wording and keywords, you’ll just need to fill in certain gaps and add a quick few personalized touches. Blissful, right?

So let’s help you build that master ‘cover letter’ that you can use over and over again for any good job you come across. 

The Basics: What To Include in a Cover Letter 

The standard cover letter has four key elements:

  • Customary greeting 
  • Catchy intro paragraph 
  • Detail-heavy body 
  • Concluding paragraph with call-to-action (CTA). 

You can spell out most of these details within a generic template and leave out gaps or highlights for information that needs to be customized. 

Now let’s have a quick walkthrough over each section with some quick generic cover letter examples. 

How to Address a Generic Cover Letter

If you plan to submit a generic cover letter to a staffing agency or someone at a job fair, it’s alright to make the greeting impersonal. For example: 

  • Dear Employer
  • To Whom It May Concern
typing cover letter

In all other cases (including when you are pitching to a company without any open roles at the moment), it’s best to do the following. 

  1. Use the company name: “Dear [Company Name] HR team” or “[Company Name] Recruiting Department is good enough if you are pitching to the business through an on-site form.
  2. Try to learn the recruiter’s name: This is the best thing you can do — use the recipient’s full name. On LinkedIn, you can often see the job publisher’s name next to the vacancy. Also, you can often find the contact person’s name in the company’s profile if applying via popular job search websites such as Indeed, Monster, and others.  Take the time to research it when you customize your generic cover letter for a particular job. 

The Introductory Paragraph for a General Purpose Cover Letter 

The purpose of the intro is to explain who you are, how you’ve got to know about the job opportunity, and what makes you qualified. Keep it short and sweet up to 2-3 sentences max. 

You generic cover letter can go like this:

My name is Joan Smith and I’d like to get considered for the [position name] at [company name]. As a certified Salesforce email marketing specialist and CRO expert with 3+ years of experience in the ecommerce domain, I believe that I could be a valuable addition to [company name] team. 

That’s a quick universal opening you can quickly customize by replacing data in the brackets. Need more inspiration? Check other cover letter examples we wrote. 

The Main Body Of Your Generic Cover Letter

The body of your cover letter is where you need to make the most impact. It should highlight your special technical skills, industry knowledge, and relevant work experience and/or professional training. 

You could also include here some details about your very special accomplishments, awards, industry recognition, or projects you are super proud of. But don’t duplicate the information from your resume. That will make you sound repetitive. Instead, use the cover letter to provide extra context about the facts and figures you’ve listed on your resume. 

For example, you can work in the next paragraph:

At my current role, I helped [company name] increase the average customer order by 15% within 3 months. Using data from Salesforce and Google Analytics, I’ve suggested a new email list segmentation approach and ran a test set of highly-personalized promotion campaigns to repeat customers. The average open rate was 45% (thanks to good titles) and the click-through-rate was 4.5% — higher than the industry average.

Here, the author expands on the general stat (15% order increase) they had shared in their resume by explaining what exactly they did to achieve that. Using these tactics is a solid way to improve the credibility of your claims. 

Next, you could go on to mention any relevant educational qualifications you have that can back up your knowledge and expertise in your field of employment. This is optional for more experienced candidates, but a good move for a recent graduate or someone changing careers. Here’s a quick example:

Five months ago, I completed my certification at Nutrition Academy and am now a licensed nutritionist. During my studies, I gave individual consultations to a small pool of clients and you can read their feedback on my website. I believe that my new skillset, combined with past experience in customer support, could make me a valuable addition to the Holistic Wellness Center — a company, placing great emphasis on customer experience.

Lastly, stick to including relevant facts only. Recruiting officers are busy people and would not be interested to read that you currently hold a world record in gum chewing, or that you collect Star Wars memorabilia.

You should leave out ‘filler’ things off your cover letter and instead focus on promoting:

  • Core competencies
  • Technical and interpersonal skills
  • Past achievements. 

Cover Letter Conclusion 

The final paragraph of the cover letter is the easiest one to keep generic. You should re-confirm your interest in the position and suggest further action by the employer.

So you can end your cover letter with something like this:

I’d be glad to further discuss how I could help [company name] achieve its goals. Please let me know when you would like to meet.

Generic Cover Letter Example 

Now let’s put all of these things together in a generic cover letter sample. 

Your Name
Your Phone Number(s)
Your Email Address
Today’s date

Dear [Company Name] Recruitment Team,

I have over three years’ experience in the hospitality industry, and I believe the knowledge and skills built up during this time make me the perfect candidate for a role within your company.

In my current role as a Customer Experience Manager at  [Company Name], I managed to increase our incoming client bookings for our services by 150% in just over 9 months, which helped the business to greatly increase its annual turnover. This, along with my everyday commitment to creating a delightful experience for our guests and B2B partners, has earned me the “Employee of the Year” title. 

My skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Excellent time-management skills using careful planning and organization of work activities.
  • Vendor selection, wholesale prices negotiation, contract management. 
  • Expert user of Salesforce, SAP, and Hubspot. 
  • Strong communication and conflict management skills.
  • An openness to learning and applying new information.

With my previous experience and expertise, I believe I can hit the ground running and start actively contributing to the business as soon as possible.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my application further.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Wrap Up 

When you are writing a generic cover letter place a greater focus on your core skills aka those that adapt to suit just about any role across a wide range of different companies.

Also, remember that your cover letter can act as a snapshot of your achievements so far. Your resume has the job of giving your recruiter a more in-depth look at your past education, further education, and training courses completed as well as other work-related experience, but your cover letter is there to introduce yourself and deliver a positive overview of why you should be considered for an interview!

Last updated on December 2020

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