Common Entry Level Cover Letter Mistakes
Entry level job seekers get a lot of bad advice. Some of this is due to the rapidly changing world in which we live. Much of the advice about cover letters is outdated. Even the term “cover letter” is dated.
So here is some up-to-date advice from a hiring manager who has reviewed more than 100,000 resumes on the top five cover letter mistakes made by entry level job seekers:
The Cover Letter Should Be As Well Written As Your Resume And Any Other Documentation You Send An Employer
How to send cover letter and resume as one document. Follow the naming convention from the job description above all else. Attach your cover letter to the email. Use your first and last name, then, optionally, the job description, and then the document type .
Paste in the body of the email These are the top two desired formats by potential employers. How to email a cover letterfollow company instructions.
What do you see as the benefit of doing that? For some companies, different managers read the cover letter and resume separately. Then, simply choose which two documents to combine and youre good to go!
Many online applications have separate upload boxes for the cover letter and resume. You don’t want anyone to have to open a word doc / pdf to read your cover letter. Use over 20 unique designs!
Ad find resume templates designed by hr professionals. Should cover letter be attached to cv? As youll include both your resume and cover letter its important to clearly name both files (e.g.
You can either copy and paste it into the main body of the email, or include it as a pdf or word document. Attach the resume document to the email. The easiest way to email your resume is by attaching the file directly to the email.
They could send the single document to both parties, but if you make their lives more difficult, they won’t think favorably of you. Write the document names in single lines. How do you attach a cover letter to a cv?
Email Cv Cover Letter Template , cover
Follow The Employer’s Instructions
When you apply for jobs via email, the employer may require you to send your resume and cover letter as an attachment to an email message. It’s important to send your attachments correctly, to include all the information you need so your email message is opened and read, and to let the receiver know how they can contact you to schedule an interview.
What’s most important is to follow the employer’s instructions and send exactly what they have asked for in the format it’s requested. If you don’t, your message may end up in a spam or trash folder.
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How To Address A Cover Letter
Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you’re more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.
If you’re struggling to find a named contact you can use a general greeting such as:
- Dear Hiring manager
- Dear Human resources director.
However, general greetings should only be used once you have exhausted methods of finding a named contact.
Resumes And Cover Letters Differ In Importance
Well make a wild guess here and say that you probably havent come across a position in your job search that didnt require a resume.
Now, how many postings have you read that didnt need a cover letter?
Enough to notice, were sure.
Thats because resumes and cover letters arent equally important.
The internet is rife with information about which one is more important with various arguments supporting both sides.
However, we think that, unless the job posting specifies that a cover letter is not to be submitted, you should absolutely include one in your application.
You cant skip out on the resume, though.
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Things Employers Wish They Could Say About Your Cover Letter
When it comes to job applications, cover letters play a key role. They introduce you to the employer and tell them how the experience and skills in your resume make you a great match for the job.
So, what do employers want to see in a cover letter? What makes a good impression, and what are the potential pitfalls that could make your application less appealing?
Here are five things Sian Havard, Founder and Consultant at recruitment company Milkshake Group, would like to tell you about your cover letter, so that you can write a winning one.
Keep it brief. Any email or attachment you send to a company youd like to work at demonstrates how you might communicate with people inside and outside of the company if you worked there, says Havard. So, keep it professional, and concise.
Usually around four to five short paragraphs will be sufficient for a cover email, she says. An attached letter might be a little longer but shouldnt be more than one page. The purpose of a cover letter is to offer the person reviewing it a taster of who you are, your potential fit for the position and incentivise them to review your resume to learn more about you.
While youre at it, make sure your SEEK Profile is up to date and complete its a great way to introduce yourself to prospective employers.
Word To Pdf And Pdf To Word
Always write and design your PDF in Word, or a similar program. Even if you are in a creative field, such as web or graphic design, youll want your resume to be legible by ATS. If you design your resume in Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or another graphic design program, you will end up with an image file that can be converted into a PDF file but will not pass a machine scan for specific words. Use Word to write your resume and use your creative skills to build your portfolio. Your portfolio wont be machine scanned, but still convert all JPG to PDFs if youre going to share your portfolio as an attachment or as downloadable files, as PDF files are more accessible. You can merge PDF documents and also compress PDF files to create one PDF presentation.
Once you have your resume ready in Word, you can easily convert it to PDF format using the FoxyUtils Word to PDF tool. Maybe youre not starting from scratch and have an older resume youd like to update, but its only in PDF form. Simply convert it from PDF to Word, edit it, and then covert it to PDF format again. Make sure to check the PDF file after the final conversion. There may be a few things that appear slightly different that youll want to go back and tweak in the original .doc file before converting it again.
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How Do You Write Transferable Skills On A Cv
Pick out the words which are the most relevant and similar to your skill set. Another good idea is to check job descriptions for other, similar roles. You can do this quite easily using a job-search tool. You could even use LinkedIn to view the skills of people who have a similar job to the one youre applying for.
Be Sure To Include A Subject In The Email Message
The subject line is one of the most important parts of the email messages you send to apply for jobs. If you don’t include one, your message may not even get opened.
Your email message must include a subject line, and it should explain to the reader who you are and what job you are applying for. Be specific, so the recipient knows what he or she is receiving. Employers often hire for many positions at the same time, so include both your name and the job title.
Add a subject to the email message before you start writing it. That way, you won’t forget to include it afterward.
Here’s what to write:
Subject: Your Name – Job Title
If the employer requests additional information, like a job ID number, be sure to include that too.
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They Give Too Much Info
Your cover letter should cover only three paragraphs: 1) why you are applying for this position 2) your custom paragraph on why you meet the job requirements and 3) recommended next steps. The exception to this is when you are sending a personal cover letter to a specific person in your referral network. Then the second paragraph should cover your personal connection to the person and the type of role you are seeking.
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They Assume That It Is Read Before The Resume
Most of the old job search books would lead you to believe that your resume is magically unfolded from the envelope with the cover letter on top, then read at a leisurely pace by a hiring manager. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your cover letter is only read after your resume has passed both a quick scan and a screen. Only then does the cover letter get any attention. So it is not an intro to your resume, it is a supplement to your resume.
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When To Include A Cover Letter
Do you really need a cover letter if a company doesn’t ask for one? Composing a lot of cover letters during a job search can be challenging and time-consuming. Because of this, it’s not surprising that applicants often hesitate to include a cover letter when it is not explicitly required by an employer.
If you’re wondering if you should include a cover letter, the short answer is yes. You should almost always submit a cover letter, even if it is not required, but there are a few exceptions.
First, let’s look at why cover letters have value.
Why Write A Cover Letter
If you’re serious about landing the job, a well-written cover letter gives you a chance to sell yourself to the employer in a narrative format, and explain why you are an ideal candidate. Taking the time to match your qualifications to the job can help you get selected for an interview.
Explaining why you’re an ideal candidate helps the hiring manager do their job of screening applicants, and may get your resume a closer look.
A cover letter also affords you the opportunity to highlight your strongest qualifications.
An effective, well-written, and customized cover letter will also make it clear that you are highly interested in the job. That’s because it shows the hiring manager that you want the job enough to take the time to go the extra distance.
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What Is A Cover Letter
A cover letter is a detailed document that shows hiring managers your desire for a particular job. It is an opportunity to demonstrate more of your personality than you can on your resume. Throughout the letter, you can discuss specific items listed in the job description and how your skills and experience match those requirements.
Cover letters are often optional, so sending one with your resume can show your eagerness to get the job. Including a cover letter when a company doesnt require one lets your future employer know that you aim to exceed their expectations, which could make you a more desirable candidate. An exception to this is if the application specifically notes not to include a cover letter, in which case you should follow the employers directions.
Make sure to include these items in your cover letter:
Other Things To Keep In Mind
You should be sending your resume as a .doc or .docx file unless the employers ask for a PDF or any other file type. A .doc file is the preferred format for the majority of employers. Here are instructions on how to convert a PDF document as a .doc file:
You can read more about sending the correct file type here.
If you’re sending your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager directly, Tuesday – Thursday is the best time. You miss their Monday blue as they get started with the workweek and you don’t want to send it when they’re wrapping up for the weekend.
You can use dashes, capitals or periods in between words when naming the file. This makes it easier for the them to read. For example: “John.Smith.Resume.Doc” is a whole lot easier to read vs. “Johnsmithresume.doc”.
Once that resume reaches the hiring manager, you want to ensure it stands out. Ensure your resume is up to date and error free. They only spend a few seconds reviewing your resume and you want to make sure your major selling points and qualifications are clear and easy to understand.
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How To Name Your Resume File
Your resume file name should be either your full name and “resume”, or your full name and the title of the position you’re applying for. This ensures that hiring managers can locate your file if they search for it in the database.
Including the title ensures that the hiring manager knows exactly which role you’re applying for.
Here are some examples of good resume file names:
You should always include your last name as large companies receive thousands of resumes a day and you can bet you’re not the only John.
Submitting An Electronic Cover Letter
Electronic resumes and cover letters can be submitted by email or via job boards. You may also be able to apply directly on the company’s website. No matter what route you take, make sure your application can be scanned by ATS programs. Follow these steps before sending your resume and cover letter to prospective employers:
- Remove visual elements.
- Convert bullet points to hyphens or asterisks.
- Use a 12-point basic font, such as Arial or Times New Roman.
- Submit your documents in .doc format .
- Avoid keyword stuffing.
Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK – The Coffee Lover’s Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.
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How Do You Attach A Cover Letter To A Cv
How to email a cover letterFollow company instructions. Use a professional email address. Add an informative subject line. Send your cover letter as an email attachment. Save your file correctly. Attach your cover letter to the email. Include a brief email message. Send your cover letter as the body of an email.
Tips For Writing A Cover Letter That Will Impress
When you do include a cover letter with your resume, it’s important to make it a good one. Here are tips for writing a cover letter that will make the best impression and add value to your application.
- Write a targeted cover letter. Be sure to write a targeted letter. This is a cover letter written with the job listing in mind. Focus on the skills and abilities you possess that make you a strong fit for the specific job.
- Keep it short. Make sure that your letters are concise and that every statement you make conveys something significant about your qualifications for the candidacy.
- Go beyond your resume. Avoid simply repeating your resume. Provide examples not listed in your resume, and expand upon things mentioned only briefly in your resume. Your cover letter should have a distinct purpose in regards to your application.
- Edit, edit, edit. Errors in your cover letter can hurt your chances of getting an interview. Errors make you look sloppy, or worse, not educated. Be sure to thoroughly read your letter before submitting it. Consider asking a friend or colleague to read it as well to check for typos, grammatical errors, and confusing language.
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Focus On The Employer’s Needs
If every other sentence of your letter begins with “I” or “my,” you need to change the focus. Research the employer and find out what types of problems managers there are facing, qualities they look for in employees, and their future goals. Then use your letter to prove that you are the answer to their problems. The most compelling letters demonstrate what you can do for the employer, not what the employer can do for you.
Creating A Cover Letter
A Cover Letter allows a potential employer to be introduced to you and your resume. It is the first document an employer sees, therefore serving as your first impression and also allows the employer to get a more comprehensive look at who you are and why you are qualified for the job. This being your first impression, you want to take advantage of the opportunity and prepare the reader for your application. State why you are you writing, why you are a good match for their organization/company, and when you intend to contact them.
During job search process writing a Cover letter can be very challenging. You are challenged to create a document about yourself that is not selfish and self-centered. But DON’T WORRY, we have all the tools necessary to aid you in this process. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be on your way to creating an excellent Cover Letter.
Display your written communication skills.
There are also hardcopy Cover Letter templates available upon request at the Counseling and Testing Center.
- Leave space between heading and name of specific person
- Use 1 inch margins all around the document
- Single space your letter
THE CLOSING STATEMENT
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