Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Top 10 Cover Letter Mistakes

The cover letter can be almost as daunting as the resume (if not more so). Most human resources professionals say you should always send a cover letter with your resume. However, many of them admit to not reading them. However, the hiring manager (your potential boss) is often the most likely reader of the cover letter. Therefore, you want to make sure your cover letter is done correctly. Here are some mistakes to avoid:

Don’t overuse the word “I”. The cover letter should be focused on how you can benefit the employer, not on your life story. Minimizing the word “I” demonstrates your ability to be a team player.

Don’t use a weak opening. Your opening must grab the reader’s attention and not let go. Here are two examples:

WEAK: Please consider me for the sales manager position.
STRONG: If you are seeking a goal-oriented manager who can motivate a team to consistently exceed goals by as much 30%, then I am confident in my ability to fill the sales manager position with your company.

Don’t make it too long. Your cover letter should never exceed one page. Keep it concise, compelling, and respectful of the reader’s time.

Don’t regurgitate your resume. Think of your cover letter as an introduction to your resume. The resume provides the facts. Repeating the resume word for word will dull the impact of the accomplishments on the resume

Don’t be vague. Ensure that every fact and skill included specifically supports the position you are applying for. Always reference the job for which you are applying and where you learned of the job.

Don’t forget to customize. Don’t forget to update company information, contact name, date, etc. You don’t want the employer to know you are using the same letter for each job posting.

Don’t be passive. Take your future into your own hands. When possible, let the employer know when and how you will follow up: “I will follow up with you in the next week to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime you may reach me at 555.111.1111.” If you don’t have contact info: “I look forward to the opportunity to meet in person so that we may further discuss how my skills, knowledge, and experience will allow me to bring benefits to your organization.”

Don’t be rude. Always thank the reader for their time and consideration.

Don’t forget to sign the letter. Personalize each letter with your signature. This is proper business etiquette and shows attention to detail. When sending an e-mail, a signature is not necessary. However, you can scan your signature and include it on the cover letter for a personal touch.

Don’t be arrogant. Stating your skills and the benefits you bring to an employer is not bragging, you are only telling the facts. It is when we deem ourselves the “best ever” or act as though an employer can not live without us that we are seen as arrogant.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing such useful coments with us. Often people make these mistakes while creating their cover letter. A relevant cover letter is very necessary to be attached with your resume, so that it gets selected. If you need any further information on writing a cover letter you can visit a resume website.