Is one or more of the following cover letter mistakes causing your job applications to head straight into the reject pile? Too many people sabotage their job search by sending out letters that aren't very good, or sometimes aren't even cover letters at all.
1. Your cover letter is actually a resume.
One common mistake is to turn your cover letter into a carbon copy of your resume. The purpose of the cover letter is not to reiterate the information on your resume. Instead, it should briefly explain the key reasons why you would be a good fit for the role.
2. You're sending out the same cover letter with every application.
If you're sending the same letter every time, that could be the reason why you're not getting responses. You need to tailor it to the specific role and company you are applying to if you are to stand any chance of convincing the hiring manager that you are a good fit for the job.
3. Your cover letter is full of jargon
Steer clear of jargon and buzzwords. When you find yourself about to type "think outside the box," stop and consider what you actually want to say. If you want to communicate that you can come up with novel solutions, such as the time your innovation saved your employer thousands of dollars, then relating the specific example is a much better way to do it.
4. Your cover letter is all about you.
While you obviously need to talk about your skills and experiences, avoid turning your cover letter into a treatise on your career hopes and dreams. Employers are far more interested in what you can do for the company than in how the company can help you reach your goals.
5. The length is wrong.
A cover letter should be no longer than a page, or approximately 500 words. Obviously, if you only write a single sentence, you will lose the opportunity to make your points, but if you type a novel, your cover letter is unlikely to be read.
6. It's not professional enough.
A cover letter is a serious, professional document. As such, you should avoid using slang, make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect, and begin and end the letter with the appropriate formalities. If you have trouble with spelling and grammar, ask a friend to read over the letter for you.
Unless a job posting specifically requests that you do not send a cover letter, you should always include one along with your resume. Taking a little extra time on it can improve your chances of getting an invitation to interview, which is the first step on the path to success in your job search.
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