When writing a cover letter, it is easy to slip into using clichés and buzzwords. However, many of these phrases immediately turn off recruiters. If you want your cover letter to help rather than hinder your job search, don't let these eight phrases appear in it.
1. "Dear Sirs"
The first phrase to avoid is one that appears at the top of far too many cover letters. Always use the name of the hiring manager when possible. "Dear sirs" implies an assumption that men are making the hiring decisions, which is often not the case in the modern workplace. If you can't find the hiring manager's name, then "dear hiring manager" is a safer, gender-neutral alternative.
2. "I'm writing to apply for (wrong position)"
If you're sending a similar cover letter out with every job application, it's very easy to forget to change the first line of your letter to reflect the position for which you are applying. Opening your letter with the statement "I am writing to apply for the marketing position you have open," when the application is actually for an admin assistant job, immediately alienates the hiring manager and shows that your attention to detail is poor.
3. "I am uniquely qualified for this role."
How do you know you are the only qualified applicant? This statement sounds arrogant and is almost certainly inaccurate. Leave it out of your cover letter if you want to make a good impression.
4. "I am a proactive self-starter with great communication skills"
Steer clear of buzzwords as much as possible. Using tired old phrases does nothing to convince a hiring manager that you really are dynamic, creative or hard-working. Instead, demonstrate your skills by giving real examples of things you have achieved during your career. For example, rather than saying "I'm a great leader," describe a situation in which you led a team of people to meet an important goal.
5. "I work well independently and as part of a team"
This is the bare minimum that most employers expect of their employees. Don't waste space on your cover letter telling the hiring manager that you have basic skills that they are likely to assume you have anyway.
6. "A cover letter and resume can't express what I have to offer"
The job of your cover letter and resume is to explain how you are a good fit for the role. If they can't do that job, then you won't get an interview. Don't include this line in hopes that the employer will be curious enough to want to meet in person.
7. "I'm seeking a salary of ..."
Don't mention salary in your cover letter. Either you state a figure that is too high and don't get an interview or aim too low and end up selling yourself short.
8. "I'll call you to schedule an interview"
Once you have sent in a job application, the ball is in the employer's court. Stating that you plan to be the one to initiate contact can seem pushy and overly aggressive.
By cutting these eight phrases from your cover letter, you could improve your chance of success in your job search. Other cover letter tips include proofreading carefully and focusing strongly on the job requirements.
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