May 25, 2014

Stop It Right Now! Do NOT Make These Cover Letter Mistakes

How are your cover letter writing skills? If you’re like most people, you probably wish you were better at crafting the perfect cover letter.

Cover letters are meant to be your ticket to getting the job interview. Along with a powerful resume, they tell your professional story with a personalized touch. Cover letters are designed so that recruiters read it and feel like they want to learn more about you.

Let’s not forget that the cover letter is the first thing that a recruiter sees. Don’t screw it up. How do you do that? You start by eliminating these common cover letter mistakes:

  1. Making TyposProofread your work. If you misspell a company’s name or even make a simple typo, your application won’t make the cut.
  2. Not Writing To The Right Person – Address your cover letter to the person who is doing the hiring. If you don’t know who that is, do some research. The Internet, the job listing, and the office are good places to find this info out.
  3. Not Making It The Right Length – A cover letter needs to include an introduction, a brief summary, and note your specialized skills. It’s not a rehash of your resume or your life story. Tell the recruiter what you bring to the table that sets yourself apart from other applicants. Make them want to meet you.
  4. Being Arrogant – No one wants to hire the self-proclaimed world’s greatest such and such. Be honest, but don’t brag or make false claims about how you’re the perfect applicant.
  5. Not Customizing – Recruiters will know if you send the same cover letter to every company. Customize it for every application. Make those recruiters feel special.
  6. Poor Font Choice – Make your resume easy to read. No one wants you to use a colorful, fun font. It’s not professional and your application will get tossed out. Carefully consider which font you should use.
  7. Dismissing Instructions – Recruiters want things done the way they list them on the website or job listing. Don’t call when you’re supposed to email. Attach references if it is required. Read the fine print. Do everything exactly how the recruiter wants.
  8. Using A “Fun” Email Address – If you want to be taken seriously, get a professional email address. Something like FirstName.LastName@gmail.com. No one wants to hire someone with an email address like beachbum@aol.com.
  9. Writing A Ridiculous Opening Line – Don’t start your cover letter with, “Hi. My name is _________. I saw your job listing and want to apply.” That’s boring. The recruiter already knows your name and considering that they have your application, they know you want to apply. Instead grab the recruiter’s attention right away – use a personal moment that shows you are knowledgeable, passionate, or skilled to be the ideal applicant.

It’s easy to fix these cover letter mistakes right now. When you do, your cover letter will be read by that powerful recruiter – the one that holds your chances of getting hired in his hands. You can find out about other cover letter mistakes on LifeHack.org.

Spend the time to not make any cover letter mistakes. When you’re ready, stop by the job board to apply for your next cool job.

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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