Three Words to Avoid Using in Your Cover Letter

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The first contact you'll have with a potential employer is through your resume. If you want a chance to discuss your qualifications face to face with the hiring manager, then your cover letter must position you as the ideal person for the job. Here are a few words to avoid using when writing a cover letter for your resume.

When you're telling the reader about yourself in a cover letter, it's natural to use the term "I." However, it's on the list of words to avoid putting on your letter because it's typically overused. In a five-sentence paragraph, four of them will start with the word I. The word also tends to make the content sound self-absorbed. It's best to vary your sentences because this will help keep the reader interested in the content and make the letter sound more personable.

The second on the list of words to avoid is "responsible." This word is often used in two ways on cover letters, and neither of them benefit you. First, responsible is used to tell potential employers the tasks an applicant was assigned in his or her previous job. In addition to sounding incredibly passive, the word is redundant. Interviewers assume you had responsibilities and are more interested in what you accomplished at your previous jobs than what you were responsible for.

The word responsible is often used as a descriptor. Among other cover letter mistakes, you definitely want to avoid using the word in this manner. Describing yourself as a responsible person on your resume sounds unprofessional and will likely have the opposite effect intended by making the reader think you lack maturity. Instead of saying you are responsible, let your resume demonstrate this trait by detailing your achievements.

A common marketing tactic is to imbue a sense of urgency in potential customers to entice them to make quick purchases. Many applicants hope to do the same to hiring managers by using action-oriented language. Unfortunately, using "urge" or similar words comes across as pleading or begging rather than enthusiasm, which is why it's on the list of words to avoid putting on your cover letter. The last thing you want is for a potential employer to feel like you're desperate for the job—even if you are. If your resume and cover letter have done their jobs, there's no need to resort to using this type of language to get potential employers to call you.

There are many more words to avoid using in your cover letter. When writing a cover letter, evaluate each of your word choices to make sure they are leaving the impression you want. Have someone you trust review your document because a second pair of eyes can pick out additional words to avoid and help you polish your cover letter.


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