First impressions have the ability to make or break your chance of getting a job. Your cover letter plays a key role in providing an initial impression to a prospective employer, which is why it remains an important component of any application, even if it is not required. By making some common cover letter mistakes, you could end up getting your resume thrown out before a recruiter even has a chance to really see what a great fit you would be for the company.
An Incorrect Salutation The beginning of the cover letter is the first thing that recruiters see. A strong opening gets them to keep reading, while a weak one stops them before they have even started. This begins as early as the salutation. Although you want to address it to a person as much as possible, you want to avoid addressing it to the wrong person. Only use a name if you are confident it is correct; otherwise, use another version of a personalized greeting, or in some circumstances omit it.
Too Long Your cover letter is a chance to sell yourself to future employers. However, they have limited time, often seconds, to read each application. If your cover letter is too long, it will hurt rather than help your cause. Stay within one page, no matter how much you wish to say. In addition, you can make it easy for the hiring manager to skim it by doing the following:
• Use short, easy-to-read paragraphs • Add bullet points • Avoid repetition • Do not just restate your resume • Do not include references or other superfluous information
Full of Errors One of the common cover letter mistakes that you must avoid is submitting a document filled with typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. Even if writing is not going to be one of your main job duties, an error-filled letter reflects poorly on you. Recruiters commonly use a cover letter to determine how well a person communicates. Therefore, have someone proofread it to ensure that it is well-written and free of errors or consider using a cover letter builder, which will help populate your cover letter with grammatically correct phrases.
Generic It is tempting to create a single cover letter and send it out with every job application. However, this does you a disservice. Hiring managers recognize when a cover letter is generic, and they tend to dismiss those. You can start with acover letter template or outline, but always tailor the letter to fit the job to which you are applying. Add in language that complements the job description and detail why you wish to work for that particular company. Demonstrate you have done your research and want the particular job, not just any job. Also avoid these related common cover letter mistakes:
• Not using the right company name • Forgetting to replace the job title from an earlier draft • Adding errors when making alterations
Going Into Detail As To Why You Left Your Past Job The cover letter is where you get to sell yourself, as well as explain certain components of your resume that require more detail. One area many people feel compelled to expand on is why they have left a previous job. However, prospective employers are not interested in a lengthy story about why you left your job, whether due to being fired, laid off or quitting. If you feel that you need to address the situation, do so quickly and move on. Usually, it is best to wait and answer that question during an interview if asked about it.
The Right Confidence When you market yourself to prospective companies, it is important to find the right balance between being too humble and too confident. If you are too humble, then you sell yourself short and risk not impressing the hiring manager. However, if you become too boastful and overconfident, it easily turns recruiters off. Concentrating on measurable achievements will help you remain balanced.
Don’t trip when trying to put your best foot forward. By taking the time to craft a strong cover letter that avoids many of the common mistakes, you have the chance to create a strong first impression that improves your chances of getting an interview.