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Another reason your free cover letter could be the kiss of death for your resume is that you are using the same free cover letter for each company you are applying for. Not only have you landed your resume in the trash with one company by submitting a cover letter such as the free one you obtained but you landed your resume in the trash with each place you have applied at. Your cover letter should not only be fresh and unique it must be a fresh and unique cover letter for each place in which you are applying. Never submit the same cover letter to more than one prospective employer.
As stated above they are looking for any reasons and that means any reason at all. When checking your cover letter example over check to see if it address a specific person. More than likely since you found it on the internet or out of a book it does not. You need to change the generalized addressing around so that it addresses a specific person for the company in which you are applying for a position at. If need be then call the company and get the appropriate name in which you should be addressing your cover letter to. This will speak volumes to the prospective employer and set you apart from the competition. Check your cover letter example over to see if it shows you how to express yourself and your qualifications to the prospective employer. Most cover letters are to generalized to express a specific need for a specific employer. Most job advertisements tell what specific skills and traits they are looking for. Make sure that in your one paragraph you have addressed those skills and traits.
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With resume cover letters so readily available it goes to show that most people use this method when applying for jobs. It is also an assumption that the way to land an interview is by being one of the first applicants for the job. This is not necessarily the case. A hiring manager is looking for the best candidate for the job and is not simply going to choose the first person to come along. They want to find the best applicant. If a resume cover letter does not grab their attention which is what a resume cover letter achieves then they are not going to waste time reviewing the applicant further.