A general or all purpose cover letter is a basic adaptable letter that you can use to accompany your resume when applying for job positions or tentatively sending your resume to companies in order for them to consider you for any upcoming positions. These letters are great when used as a base to apply for specific job roles where you can re-visit the letter and personalise it to show how you are an ideal candidate for the position. This will help you save time when applying for several jobs in quick succession. A general cover letter template is also very useful when sending your resume into companies that are not currently advertising for staff where you can ask that your resume be considered when a future position becomes available.
General Cover Letter Writing Tips and Advice
General or all purpose cover letters are great to use when applying for a new job however they need to be used in the right circumstances and their content purposefully selected.
- Use our cover letter builder as part of our resume creation tool to help you structure an effective, attractive and relevant cover letter.
- Keep a standard format which can be personalised depending on the job you are applying for. This will save time and help you ensure you include key factors about you as a candidate.
- In your general cover letter template you should leave space for additional text that you may want to add when applying for a specific job position.
- Remember you should tailor your cover letter to suit the company you are sending it to each time you send it out. A relevant cover letter will make sure you get noticed by the company and will ensure that you gain early respect as it shows you have researched the business before applying.
- When tailoring your cover letter for a job application you should think of it as an extension of your resume and therefore you should be looking to attract the employer’s attention within the first few sentences and demonstrate why you are the right candidate for this position. Our article on resume tips should help you get an idea of what prospective employers are looking for.
- Keep your cover letter as concise and purposeful as possible, employers do not want to read pages upon pages of text before they even get to your resume!
Creating Your Cover Letter
Here are some basic steps to creating your generic all purpose cover letter:
- When using a word processing programme to write your cover letter (this is advised) select a business like, easy to read corporate font. A prospective employer will not appreciate an arty or modern font if it’s hard to read and/or appears unprofessional.
- Make space for your addressees details (this is generally in the top left hand corner of the page) perhaps fill the space with ‘X’s as this will remind you to personalise each letter version. Also incorporate a space for your own contact details (usually in the top right hand corner).
- Use a standard salutation to start the letter, if you do not know the name of the addressee begin with To Whom It May Concern. If you do know the name of the person you should address them as Mr/Mrs/Miss followed by their surname.
- Use the first passage to signal your intent to apply for employment and detail the exact position you are applying for.
- Your next passage of text will need to illustrate why you are applying for the position and show that you could fulfil the employer’s requirements in this role and become a valuable asset to the company. Try to achieve this in a fairly concise paragraph – bear in mind your resume cover letter should be no longer than one A4 page.
- Use a closing paragraph asking the prospective employer to review your resume and state that you will look forward to hearing from them with regard to the job position.
- End the letter with a closing phrase such as ‘Kind Regards’ and type your name including salutation (Mr/Mrs/Miss) ensuring you leave space between the closing phrase and your typed name to add your signature (you should sign all your cover letters by hand before sending them out).
- Ensure you include the days date on your letter (should be placed around the top right of the page beneath your contact details). You should write the date in the following format preferably DD Month (by name) YYYY – eg. 15th June 2010.
Final checks to carry out:
- Double check the spellings of recipients names and titles
- Ensure you include the correct address and zip-code for the recipient
- Ensure your own contact details are not misspelt
- Conduct an overall final spelling and grammar check
This advice should help you to create the perfect general or all purpose cover letter which can easily and quickly be adapted to help you apply for that new job as quickly as possible. To go with your great new cover letter you will need an exceptional resume to ensure you get that job interview so get stated for free with our resume builder.
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