With all the emphasis on having the perfect resume, the cover letter sometimes falls as a secondary concern. However, your cover letter is a make-or-break portion of the job search that tells the hiring manager why you’re applying and how you’re qualified, so it deserves your attention. So instead of just replacing the company name in your letter before sending it with your next application, take a deeper look at it to ensure you’re not making these mistakes:
Repeating Your Resume
Despite what many believe, your cover letter is not your resume in paragraph form. There are fundamental differences in the information for each. Resumes highlight your history, skills and professional accomplishments. Cover letters are an introduction to who you are professionally and what you can bring to the company and opportunity.
Forgetting Key Words
Similarly to your resume, you need to infuse key words from the job description into your cover letter. Not only is this a great way to tailor it to fit the opportunity, it’s also the best way to ensure your application doesn’t get pigeon-holed by applicant tracking systems.
Being Too Self-Centered
As we mentioned, your cover letter is not only an introduction of who you are, it’s also an introduction into what you can bring to the opportunity and company. This means you can’t just talk about yourself and what you want in a job!
Writing Too Much
Hiring managers are reading dozens of applications, so the shorter and more concise your cover letter is, the better! The rule of thumb is one page at the most. However, if you can pare it down a bit more, your hiring manager will appreciate it.
Including Clichés and Tired Phrases
Cut the clichés and tired phrases from your cover letter! The overuse of these fillers has caused them to lose meaning. Here are some words and phrases to avoid:
- Perfect fit for the team
There are many other examples out there, but being creative and staying true to yourself will help you steer clear of the cliché trap.
Last, but certainly not least, watch out for spelling and grammar errors! Nothing chips away at your credibility as a professional quite like these silly mistakes. After you go through your cover letter with a fine-toothed comb, send it to your mentor or a trusted friend to look over, as well.
Remember, a job application is more than just a resume. Pay special attention to your cover letter, and it will help you wow hiring managers!
Know of another common cover letter mistake? Leave a comment!