Any job seeker understands that a cover letter is many times an absolute requirement. Therefore, cover letter mistakes can significantly harm your chances of landing an interview.
In just under 3 minutes, potential employers can tell a bad cover letter from a good one. We all know what follows when it falls on the bad side. The big question, therefore, is, what sets apart great cover letters from the bland ones.
You can start by avoiding these 4 cover letter mistakes:
1. A boring or sucky opening
You’ll want to draw the reader in with your first lines, and just like a story, your first few sentences will have to leap out of the paper. Saying that “I am writing to apply for XYZ vacancy …” just won’t cut it.
Of course, you are applying for that job. Don’t remind the hiring manager what they are reading, especially not with your first line. They might just reach out for the next resume. Ensure you have some attention-grabbing opening lines so that you can keep them reading.
2. A lame greeting
Let’s be honest. You have probably started a cover letter with “to whom it may concern” or “Dear sir/madam.” What a bore. While we are on this, don’t use “Dear hiring manager.” You are not addressing an auto-response machine or software.
All these kinds of greetings simply indicate that you don’t care and you probably never put any time into the application. It may just ensure that your application is headed straight to the recycle bin. Look up the name of the hiring manager.
3. Airing your laundry – whether it’s clean or dirty
This is one of the most common cover letter mistakes. Your skills and experiences belong in your resume. A cover letter should highlight your personality and just how your background fits the requirements of the job.
You might still include a list of skills but you’ll have to break them down into anecdotes or splashes of your personality. The idea is not to bring a similar list from your resume into the cover letter.
There’s a lot of free info on how to craft the perfect cover letter. Avoiding these 4 cover letter mistakes will put you in a safe zone as far as job applications are concerned. If you are still doubtful, you can run it through a friend and see if there’s anything that can turn off a hiring manager.
If you make reading your application sound like the biggest favor, the hiring manager will think you are incredibly desperate. This is definitely not the kind of impression you want to create when you are applying for a job. Be polite and thankful, without using phrases or words that would put you on the desperation side.
It might look like a standard line or common text to include in an application, but it may also reek of desperation. Don’t thank the hiring manager “so, so, incredibly much for accepting your application.” He earns a salary for that and wakes up every morning knowing he will be reading job applications.
What other cover letter mistakes are fatal? Sound off in the comments section.