A cover letter is a perfect way to introduce yourself to your potential employer. Whilst your resume is a record of your professional history and follows a format, the cover letter is an opportunity to be more free-flowing with your words and allow your personality to shine through.
However, as with everything in life, there are some dos and don’ts – so read on to discover some of the most common cover letter mistakes.
Not submitting a cover letter at all
Surprisingly, only 47% of candidates make the effort of submitting a cover letter with their job applications. If you nail it with a stand-out letter, you are already ahead of the pack – before you even get to the letter’s content or your job history.
Going into too much career detail
Sometimes less is more, which is the case regarding cover letters. Rather than in-depth descriptions of every role you have ever had, it’s a good idea to exercise some control and cherry-pick the highlights.
For example, your cash handling experience at the local store when you were a teenager may be helpful for a retail job application, but it can probably be omitted for an IT role.
To know which information to include, put yourself in the potential manager’s shoes. What skills and qualities are they looking for in their new team member? Once you can answer that question, you can draw on the roles and responsibilities from your career history that align with the position description.
Writing a novel-like letter
It is best practice to keep your cover letter clear, concise and to the point. Recruiters will likely review many applications, so you must grab their attention quickly. They don’t want to wade through pages of irrelevant text, so be sure to address your alignment to the requirements in the lowest word count possible – one page should be plenty.
Spelling and grammatical errors
Typos aren’t a good look at any time, but in particular, extra care should be taken to avoid spelling and grammar errors when it comes to your job application. If, for instance, you talk about your attention to detail on your cover letter but then make several typos, it takes credibility away from your skills.
To avoid making this mistake, be sure to utilize spell check tools. If possible, having someone else read through your application with fresh eyes is a great idea too.
Being a superfan
Even if this is the company you have dreamed about working at since you were a child, play it cool. Flattery will only get you so far. By all means, feel free to mention your passion and interest in working for the company, but be sure that above all else, you spend the letter explaining what you can bring to the table for them.
The recruitment team aren’t as interested in what they can do for you as they are in what you can do for their company.
Hopefully, these tips can give you some direction for your next job application. The great thing about cover letters, is once you have written a killer letter, you can use it as a basic outline or template for future applications.