What Are The Worst Cover Letter Mistakes
10 of the Worst Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid
- But arent cover letters a thing of the past?
- Cover Letter Mistake #1: Lack of research.
- Cover Letter Mistake #2: Overly formal or casual greetings.
- Cover Letter Mistake #3: Talking all about me, me, me.
- Cover Letter Mistake #4: Repeating your entire resume.
Bring Up Something Newsworthy
Kick off your cover letter with evidence that youve done your research and a little bit of flattery. If the company youre applying for was recently in the news, mention it in the opening line and tie it into why you admire the company. To avoid sounding insincere with your compliments, bring up a specific event, fact, notable statistic or award the company recently won!
Example:When I saw that Company ABC was featured in Fortune Magazine last month for its commitment to renewable energy and reducing waste in the workplaceall while experiencing triple-digit revenue growthI was inspired. With my track record of reducing costs by 30%+ and promoting greener workplaces, Im excited about the possibility of taking on the account executive role to expand your companys growth and work towards a more sustainable future.
Related: How to Format a Cover Letter
Demonstrate What You Can Do For The Company
Ultimately, employers want evidence that youll be able to contribute to their company. To catch their attention, use your cover letter opening lines to either highlight a problem youre confident you can tackle for them, or any specific hard or soft skills you bring to the table.
Im writing to apply for the Software Engineer role at Jasper Development. With over five years of experience as a backend engineer, Im confident that my expertise would allow me to become an immediate contributor to the team at Jasper. Specifically, I understand that Jasper is looking to expand their services in cloud computing. At my previous job, I spearheaded a new cloud computing project that generated a 15% revenue increase. The Software Engineer role at Jasper would be an exciting opportunity for me to hone my skills in this area while helping your team build their cloud computing capacity.
You May Like: How Many Jobs Should You Put On A Resume
Address The Hiring Manager
If you can address your cover letter to the reader using their name, do it.
Greetings like To Whom It May Concern and Dear Sir or Madam are old-fashioned, plus its easier than ever to find the right persons name using LinkedIn, exploring a companys website, or contacting their human resources department and asking.
Here are some cover letter salutation suggestions if youre struggling to find the right information:
- If youre not certain about the recruiters title you can leave it out. For instance, Dear Jane Smith is acceptable.
- If you cant figure out who the recruiter is, guess. For example, if youre applying for a marketing position, address the marketing director by name instead.
- If you cant find anyones name, address your cover letter to the department. For instance, Dear Marketing Department is okay.
Opening salutation examples
- Dear Recruiter
Types Of Cover Letters
- Invited cover letter. Use this format when responding to an ad or other listing. Describe how your qualifications meet the needs of the position.
- Cold-contact cover letter. Use this format to contact employers who have not advertised or published job openings. Research careers to find the requirements for the job you’re applying for matching your qualifications with that research. View Inquiry letters.
- Referral cover letter. Use this format if you were referred to a job opening through networking, informational interviews, or contact with employers. A referral may be to a specific job opening or to an employer who may or may not be hiring now. Make sure you mention the person who referred you.
- Job match or “T” cover letter. Use this format to match the specific requirements of the job one-to-one with your qualifications, for example “You need 10 years’ experience” and “I bring 12 years’ experience.” You can learn about the requirements from job ad, position descriptions, phone conversations, career research, and informational interviews.
You May Like: How To Make An Acting Resume With No Experience
What’s The Difference Between A Resume And Cv
CV stands for “curriculum vitae,” which translates to Latin for “course of life.” On the other hand, “resume” is French for “summary.” Job applicants submit these documents along with other materials to obtain an interview. The information they contain should reflect the candidate’s best skills and experiences, with emphasis on how these qualities make them the perfect person for the position in question. While some companies and organizations use “resume” and “CV” interchangeably, significant differences exist between these two terms.
Resumes and CVs differ in length, with the former ranging from 1-2 pages and the latter regularly exceeding two pages. Length ties in with content. A resume is short because it should contain only the academic history, professional history, and demonstrable skills relevant to the position. CVs provide more details because they reflect a professional’s full academic credentials, including their education, research experience, publications, and official accolades.
In general, candidates submit resumes for nonprofit, public, and industry work. They provide CVs when applying for academic careers, fellowships, and grants. These differences predominantly exist in the U.S. and Canada. Asian, European, and African companies operate using distinct standards that job seekers should confirm prior to sending in their application materials.
Show Honest Interest And Enthusiasm
In the introductory paragraph of your cover letter, state why the specific company or position you are writing about interests you. Also, include a sentence that conveys your passion for the organizations mission, product, culture or other attributes. Show the reader why you want this opportunity, specifically.
For example, if you are writing about a sales opportunity at a solar company, you might include the following background in your introduction:
I have always been interested in sales. In fact, while growing up, I had endless ideas and multiple business ventures to show for it. I channeled that skill into a professional sales career and, now, as a passionate advocate for alternative energy, I am drawn to your organization. I am impressed by ABC Companys projects and position as an innovative industry leader and I would be thrilled to offer my expertise to your team.
Also Check: How To List Dates On Resume
Tips For Writing Your Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter can be overwhelming. Focus your efforts and include content that is concise, relevant, and appealing to potential employers.
- While every cover letter is different, effective cover letters demonstrate you are a good fit for the position.
- Convey your enthusiam for the positon and knowledge of the company.
- Provide support and examples that showcase the skills and competencies that are being sought.
- Focus on your accomplishments and measurable results.
Follow standard business writing protocol.
- Address your cover letter to a specific person whenever possible. It may take some resourcefulness on your part to identify the appropriate person, but the letter will be better received.
- Write clearly and concisely.
- Use proper grammar and check for misspelled words.
- Limit your letter to one page.
- Be sure to include the date, an appropriate salutation, and closure with your signature.
Do not mass produce.
- Mass produced cover letters are easy to detect. Be sure to relate your specific skills and experiences to each indivdual position.
- Incorporate information that reflects your knowledge of the company, the industry, or the position.
- Consider that employers are seeking to fill specific roles and are looking for applicants that have the skills and qualities to succeed in that role.
Start Off With Intrigue
When you’re applying to larger corporate companies, you know that recruiters are getting hundreds of applicants for one entry-level position.
It’s important to intrigue the hiring manager and recognize that they’re looking at several applicants.
For example, you could say, “I understand that you have been deluged with resumes since you’ve been listed as one of the best companies to work for. Mine is one more, but I do have experience that is hard to come by.”
Why This Works
After this, it’d be great to list examples, stats, and experience that set you apart from other candidates and will benefit the company.
Recruiters see countless resumes and cover letters every day. It’s important to start your cover letter in a unique way so you can stand out amongst the crowd.
Recommended Reading: Ms Word 2007 Resume Templates
Craft A Strong Cover Letter Opening
Knowing how to begin a cover letter in a way that draws positive attention is the first step to figuring out how to write a cover letter that will impress any hiring manager.
To start your cover letter off strong, make sure that your introduction is:
- Focused on the companys needs
Additionally, be sure to mention any mutual contacts if you have them. By making your cover letter opening hit the right tone, you can easily catch the attention of employers and improve your chances of getting an interview.
Check Out Samples Resumes And Cover Letters
Job seekers often find it challenging to create cohesive resumes and cover letters, a process made even more difficult if they have to stare at a blank page. Fortunately, online samples abound and provide a starting point that candidates can use to jump-start their own applications. Job listing and professional networking websites like Indeed, Monster, and offer resume and cover letter samples for all career fields. In addition, college students can look to their university’s career center for examples of effective application materials. Candidates should also ask their network for successful resume/cover letter samples.
Templates are useful for helping job seekers visualize the basic structures of resumes and cover letters and lay out their own qualifications in a way that best emphasizes their strengths. This guide examines formatting in the next section.
Resume/cover letter templates also give job seekers a good understanding of industry-specific terminology. Recruiters often scan for these terms because they indicate a prospect’s hands-on experience in the field. Using the correct language can also assist with meeting the standards of a company’s applicant tracking system. Ultimately, templates help job seekers display information cogently. Professionals should still take the time to personalize their resumes and cover letters to the specifications of individual positions.
Recommended Reading: How To Make An Acting Resume With No Experience
Secrets For Writing Cover Letters That Get You Hired
I can write a solid resume, interview well, and make sure that my online presence is on point.
The one thing thats always been a struggle? The dreaded cover letter.
Cover letters can be absolute torture, and it feels like there are a million ways to screw them up. Is yours too formal or informal? Too long or short? Too much information or too vague?
Theres an upside, though: Making your cover letter awesome doesnt have to be a long, difficult process. In fact, as Ive written more and more cover letters over time , theyve actually become fun.
Below, Ive listed the 16 most important tips Ive learned to make crafting a cover letter into an easy and pain-free process. Half of the tips are related to what you write, and the other half are tiny things thatll make sure your cover letter is better than the rest. By the end of the list, theres no way a hiring manager will be able to shuffle you to the bottom of the pile. Or you knowdelete your email
8 Tips for Cover Letters That Grab Hiring Managers Attention
1. Describe a pain point
Heres the most important question any cover letter should answer: What problem would hiring you solve?
Notice that this question is about the companys problem, not your desire to land the job! Tricky, I know.
2. Dont regurgitate your resume
This is a tip that youve probably heard before, but it happens all the time: Dont use your cover letter to simply restate your resume!
3. The tone should match the company
Start With What You Can Bring To The Table
A hiring manager here at HubSpot told me she always looks for cover letters to tell her how the company and applicant can benefit each other.
Any employer is going to want to know why you think you can grow from the position you’re applying to. An employer is more inclined to hire you if she thinks you have a genuine, intrinsic motivation to work hard in the role.
A hiring manager is also going to want to know how you’ll contribute to the company’s larger vision and goals. It’s important for the manager to know what you want to get out of the role, but it’s equally important to know how you’ll help the company grow. How will the company benefit from you, over someone else?
Here’s an example: “I am seeking opportunities to improve my writing ability in a forward-thinking environment while growing organic traffic and optimizing content to beat out competitors in search engines. At Company A, I believe I will find that match.”
Why This Works
See how it works? In the example above, the candidate explained how she’d benefit from the role. She also explained what Company A could get out of the transaction — increased organic traffic, and optimized content — so the hiring manager is informed of the equality of the potential relationship.
Also Check: Should You Have High School On Resume
Your Cover Letter Needs To Get An Employer’s Attention From The Start Check Out These Sample Opening Lines By Position
Example Cover Letter Opening Lines
Not sure how to start a cover letter? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Cover letter openers are often pretty generic, but they dont have to be.
You can grab the reader’s attention by highlighting accomplishments, your passion for contributing to the employer’s mission, and your strongest related skills.
To get started, Locke suggests writing a list of the top three ways you would add value to an organization. “What core competencies would enable you to excel in the position you’re targeting?” Locke asks. “How would the employer benefit from hiring you?”
If the first few lines of your letter are causing your readers’ eyes to glaze over, it’s time for a makeover. Review these examples for ideas and inspiration for how to start a cover letter.
How Do You Write A Good Cover Letter Template
First Paragraph: The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing. Mention the position you are applying for, and how you learned about it. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one. Be clear, concise, and enthusiastic regarding your interest in the job.
Don’t Miss: How To List Phi Beta Kappa On Resume
Highlight A Mutual Connection
If you were referred to this job by a former colleague, the beginning of your cover letter can be a place to mention that connection. It grabs the hiring managers attention because theyll want to see why someone they know and respect recommended you for the role. Here are some tips on doing it tactfully:
- Avoid using extreme words like greatest or best
- Show excitement and gratitude
- Keep it brief and let the recommendation speak for itself
Example:I was excited to learn of this job opportunity from my former colleague, Alex Johnson. He and I have worked closely together for many years, most recently on a complex data analysis project at XYZ Company. He thought that I would be a good match for this position on your team.
Structuring Your Cover Letter
Follow these guidelines to ensure your cover letter is properly structured.
Paragraph 1: Capture Attention
- In your first paragraph, capture the reader’s attention.
- Indicate the position you are applying for and how you learned of the vacancy, i.e. Did someone tell you about it? Did you see an ad or website?
- Outline the specific reasons why you are ideal for the position.
- Sell yourself in paragraph 1. Do not wait until the second paragraph to articulate why you are well qualified for the position.
Paragraph 2 & 3: Create Desire
- Describe yourself as a serious candidate and one worth inviting for an interview. State the hard details including your specific skills, history of responsibility, success, etc.
- Think about ways to reinforce an image of yourself that includes as many of the desired qualities as possible.
- Show, dont tell. Remember, your goal is to set yourself apart from other applicants. Do not just tell the employer you have a skill, provide evidence. For example, do not just state you are detail oriented. Give the reader an example of something in your work history that proves that you are detail oriented.
- Refer to your resume, but do not simply list the contents of it.
- Emphasize how your variety of experiences are connected to the position and will benefit the company.
Paragraph 4: Call for Action
You May Like: How To Add Resume Lines In Word
Start With A Lesson You’ve Learned In Your Career
A great way to start a cover letter is with a lesson you’ve learned in your industry from your experience.
For example, you might say something like, “As a with high-level management experience in the , I learned that the best way to achieve success was to .”
Why This Works
This opening sentence lets a recruiter know your experience level. Not only that, but it starts off with how you can benefit the company, not how the company will benefit you.
How Do I Get My First Internship
Read on for some simple steps to break through that first internship barrier.