Cover letters - Made to fit
Getting an employer's attention with CVs can be difficult. But with a tailored cover letter aimed at the right people, it can mean you getting considered for the job.
First is stroking their ego. Don't make your potential employer tell you why they're a good company to work for - they shouldn't have to convince you of anything other than taking the job.
Know if you're applying to an HR team or a hiring manager. Smaller companies will usually have someone who you can name in your cover letter, opposed to large companies, who usually have an HR department.
Do your research - do your qualities, job experience and attitude match your target? Most companies are looking for a personality type to fit in with their team. You can find these details by paying close attention to the job description and company profile. Look at their website and find their "voice" - are they a humorous, fun-loving team who you can imagine going for Friday night drinks? Is it a high-intensity role where you will have to think on your feet? Are they more serious and down to business?
It's not egotistical to talk about yourself but watch out for boring, stock sentences like "I am a highly motivated individual looking for a job in the ... industry." You can still communicate the same message, but try and say it in a different way.
Remember - whoever's reading your cover letter and resume has probably read many more before yours that day and will probably read much more after it. So it's best that you imagine who will be reading your resume and cover letter when you write it. Say something that will stand out and convince them to put yours in the "yes" pile or to mark your application for further review. When hiring managers read cover letters and resumes for hours on end, they begin to skim read. So just like a professional resume design and template can be the deciding factor in being considered, so can a well-written and thoughtful cover letter.
To conclude, it's still ok to have a template CV that you use as the body of your cover letter. Sometimes it may need rewording but this is a case by case situation, like all applications should be. Hiring managers recognise copy-paste applications that have been sent to every LinkedIn and Seek job ad.