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3 Exceedingly Terrible Cover Letter Mistakes
Apparently, 75% of employers believe a cover letter increases a less-qualified applicant’s chances of employment according to the book The 100 Best Companies to Work For. In fact, it’s becoming more common to write a cover letter as part of your job application to send with your resume. The problem is that most people find writing a cover letter ever so complicated. How do you begin and end a cover letter? What should you write in the cover letter? Does a cover letter have a standard style or format?
These questions, and more, can actually be answered by taking a look at our 8 Winning Cover Letter Strategies .
What I would like to do is point out some major cover letter mistakes that we see every day here at Resume Companion that will hopefully help you improve your own cover letter and wow that employer into hiring you.
1) Writing too much vague information on your cover letter
A perfect cover letter should be around one-page long and not include a lot of generic, flowery or unrelated information. I’d suggest viewing these excerpts from the same salesperson cover letter below and compare their effectiveness.
COVER LETTER EXAMPLE 1
“I’m a quick starter with bundles of enthusiasm and real team player. I’m also really hard working and have excellent interpersonal skills and I am also highly motivated. Believe it or not I also won some awards once. You should hire me as I will make your organization better.”
COVER LETTER EXAMPLE 2
“I’m a quick starter as is highlighted from my ability to increase revenue by over 30% within a year at Electronic Appliances LLC. My passion for the electronic retail industry reveals itself in my approach to my customers; I recently won a regional award for the highest customer satisfaction rate and a sales award for exceeding a 15% month-on-month target over one year.
In addition, my ability to work with staff from all levels of my previous company will certainly prove to be fruitful in increasing your bottom-line.”
As you can see, the second cover letter excerpt really pinpoints WHY that candidate should be hired for the job. The more precise and detailed information you can provide to back up your skills, the better. Let’s put it this way, would you walk in to a court of law to defend yourself without any evidence? Well the same can be said for your cover letter. Promote yourself, because there’s probably nobody else who will do it for you!
2) Writing as if you couldn’t care less about the job
So many times we see cover letters written as if the candidate is applying for a job so far detached from the one they are sending the cover letter to, that they must secretly not want the job. A cover letter should be tailored directly to the potential organization’s job description.
If the job description asks for an employer who can work with a certain piece of software you should write your qualification in both your resume and cover letter. If a Hiring Manager asks for a team-player, get it down on the letter and make sure you back up that skill with some hard proof.
COVER LETTER EXAMPLE 3
“I managed a team of people, we had a great time. We never argued, the sun always shone through our window onto my team every afternoon. It was just great. Hire me.”
COVER LETTER EXAMPLE 4
“The 5-year tenure at Slotharm Inc. accentuated my ability to both manage and guide forward a close-knit team of 8 staff. I attained all hiring deadline requirements and developed a new rota system reducing time-off by over 25% within 6 months.”
As you can also see in these cover letter excerpts, the second example is a marriage made in heaven for your potential Hiring Manager. Expect to be walked down the aisle with an employment offer quicker than you can say “I do”.
3) Not requesting an interview on your cover letter
There are a lot of problems when people write both resumes and cover letters but one of the biggest ties in with my last two points. Apparently, some job seekers expect Hiring Managers to magically know both your achievements and intentions for the future without them ever mentioning it on one of the most important documents of their life.
When writing your cover letter, almost always request an interview or a meeting. Or if the position doesn’t require this at least ask what the next step would be and provide them with contact information for them to relay you an answer.
Not all Hiring Managers are built the same, you see, some are actually quite terrible at their job and they take your cover letter for face value which means if you don’t request an interview … they may never call! Keep it simple for both you and the HR Manager by requesting that interview. Here’s an excerpt from a strong closing sentence for a healthcare candidate whose closing sentence is tailored and leaves with a call to action that a Hiring Manager can pounce on.
CLOSING STATEMENT FOR A HEALTHCARE COVER LETTER EXAMPLE
“I look forward to discussing possibilities to grow within White Dove Hospital and am very excited about the opportunity to capitalize on my intensive nursing background to assist in your current forward thinking healthcare initiatives. I am confident that I will make a positive contribution and have attached my resume for your consideration in light of a request for an interview.
So, what can we take from this? Well, never expect a Hiring Manager to possess the skill of telepathy and unless one day you can claim to have that skill, learn from these 3 cover letter mistakes on what not to do on and you will have a much greater chance of a being called for an interview.
To make the process of making your cover letter much easier why not use our free cover letter builder? It only takes a few minutes to build your cover letter and you can feel safe that your cover letter will be of the highest professional standard.
By Joe Flanagan
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