Your cover letter gives an impression to the employer how well you can portray yourself. A good cover letter has the potential to force the employer review your resume whereas a bad one can eliminate all your chances. So, to ensure that your letter is effective we have compiled a list of 8 mistakes that you must avoid while writing your next cover letter.
- A resume without a cover letter: There are certain companies where much importance is not given to the cover letter. But why ruin your chances? You have no idea whether the employer you are sending your application to reads or values your cover letter or not, hence it is always advisable to include one. It gives you an extra edge. Don’t you think?
- Using the wrong cover letter format: When you write the cover letter it is very important to keep the standard business-letter format in your head. The recipient information, your address and date should be present in the correct format. Your letter should not seem unprofessional.
- The content: The cover letter should not be all about you everywhere. Keep in mind to give importance to the employer while you are writing your letter. I understand that you have to tell the employer about you but try to do so in the context of employer’s needs and specified job requirements. “The worst thing a candidate can do in their cover letter is make it all about themselves and what they’re looking for. The best thing to do is focus on why they’ll be a great fit, how they’ll make a contribution and what they’ve done, or will do, to support this.” – Ian Yates, co-founder and managing director, Fitzii.
- Not Proofreading: It is very essential to proofread any letter you send anywhere. Be sure your document is perfect without any mistakes before sending it out. Write it down, print it out and read it again after a few hours with a fresh eye. The silly mistakes in your letter can cost you a lot. Also, while you are proofreading make sure to cross check whether the name of company, job position that you are applying for and the hiring manager’s name is written correctly with no spelling mistakes.
“Typos are one of the top mistakes job seekers make when it comes to cover letters. Spell-check is your friend. Use it, but don’t rely on it. Print out your cover letter, read it from start to finish and make sure there aren’t any typos before sending it out. Your cover letter is the first impression you make on a hiring manager — make sure it’s a good one.” -Joe Weinlick, vice president of marketing, Beyond.
- Avoid writing too long: You are not writing a novel. Your cover letter that should be precise, short and to the point. A good cover letter should be no longer than a page. Research says, that a hiring manager spends around 20 seconds reading a cover letter. So, try and make your cover letter simple and convincing. Employers are piled up with resumes and cover letters, and their time is less. Write your letter in three or four short but effective paragraphs that is easy to read. The employer would any-day prefer your job application with respect to your competitor’s whose cover letter is two or three pages long. Also, avoid writing cover letter that is too short. If you are sending a cover letter that is of few lines then what is the point of sending one.
- Using the same cover letter for every job application: If you are of the impression that you can send the same cover letter to every company you apply for, you are completely killing your chances. Your cover letter must be tailored for every job application. Also, make sure that you go through the company website, their social media accounts, blog posts to know more about the company. Then you can make your cover letter on the same tone and style.
- Writing about the reason of quitting your last job: The employer is not interested in your past, all that matters to him/her is whether you have the potential to survive and be an asset to the company. “The worst thing a potential employee can do is to explain why they left their current or former position. It’s like starting out a first date by talking about your ex! I don’t want to hear about your past; I want to hear about your now and future, and how you are going to become an asset to my company.” – Kim Kaupe, founder, ZinePak.
- Using uninterested and passive language: Try not to use phrases like “I believe” or “I feel”. It doesn’t give a positive impression about you. You must be confident and sure about whatever you write in your letter. “One of the most common mistakes that applicants make when writing their cover letters is to include statements along the lines of ‘I believe I would be a good fit for this job…’ Recruiters and hiring managers don’t really care what the candidates believe about their qualifications; they will assess the qualifications themselves. Instead, applicants should include something like, ‘I offer the following qualifications for your consideration.’ Then, they should list the qualifications relevant to the position for which they are applying.” – Caroline McClure, principal, ScoutRock.
By avoiding these 8 mistakes your application is sure to stand out and get placed on the top of the pile. Try to write a cover letter that is genuine and precise to give your career a good start.
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Video Credit: InterviewMastermind