Cover letters open the door and allow your resume to walk through. However, many people create cover letters that are more of a burden to their resume than a door opener. This is because they often commit one of the many cover letter mistakes that make a cover letter more like a cover up.
Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
Following are some cover letter mistakes that people often make. Start with making sure that you don’t make these mistakes and then go on to improve your cover letter even further by reading our cover letter tips.
Your Cover Letter is Too Long
First, make sure your cover letter is not too long. A cover letter is an introduction of yourself, your qualifications for the job, and a request for an interview. It should not be your first attempt at a novella. In the fast paced environment of today’s business world, it is important that you keep in mind the fact that most people don’t have the luxury of time. Your cover letter should therefore be concise and to the point, with no extra flowery language that isn’t directly related to the three goals of a cover letter.
You Forgot to Proofread Your Cover Letter
Second, proofread your cover letter until you have memorized the text. Then pass it to a colleague, family member or friend to proofread again. Any grammatical or spelling mistakes or awkward sentences will immediately give the interviewer or recruiter the impression that you are not detail-oriented, lazy, or this position isn’t really that important to you. If you don’t have anyone around you with great English skills, consider hiring someone for a small fee to edit your cover letter. Yes, it’s that important.
About Your Contact Information…
Third, be sure your contact information is clearly displayed on the cover letter. Leave two ways to contact you, which are generally an email and a phone number. Be sure your email address is professional and doesn’t give any unnecessary information like birth year, favorite sports team, etc. For example, an email like email@example.com may not give the impression that you are a hard-hitting, serious manager that can get the job done. Many people will create a separate email account just for business or job search.
When providing a phone number, be sure it is one that you have on you most of the time and that you are the sole person that answers it. This is generally why a cell phone is most appropriate. Giving a house phone can lead to confusion or annoyance when someone else answers it, and may lead to a bad situation if a message doesn’t get relayed correctly. When it comes to voicemail, be sure your voicemail is simple and professional. Having your dog howling on your voicemail message might be funny to your friends, but not so to a recruiter.
The King of Cover Letter Mistakes: Not Tailoring Your Cover Letter
Lastly, always make sure your cover letter is unique. Don’t use the same cover letter for all the job opportunities you apply to. Always refer to something specifically from the job posting and relate your qualifications to the requirements of the job. Your cover letter should be confident and impactful. For example, don’t use terms like “I think I am the best person for the job because…”, but instead be confident and state “I am the best person for the job because…” Recruiters and managers want to schedule interviews with confident and professional people, not wishy-washy, indecisive, uncertain people.
A cover letter is an important part of getting your foot in the door, so take the time needed to perfect each cover letter you send out. The more impactful, yet concise, you can make it, the better your chances will be.
More on Cover Letter Mistakes
The following articles discuss some other cover letter mistakes that people make: