Cover Letter Dos’ and Don’ts–Some Common Mistakes
Designing Your Business Communication
When it comes to writing cover letters, there’s simply no room for error. In this highly competitive marketplace, if you have a mistake on your cover letter, or if you have included information that does not belong in a cover letter, then you’re going to be quickly eliminated from the running. Your cover letter must not only be perfectly composed and error-free, it must stand out from the rest and get you noticed. But, most importantly, your cover letter has to be helpful to the person in charge of hiring. Check out these tips PaperDirect has compiled to help you.
Do’s and Don’ts of Cover Letters
Here are some cover letter do’s and don’ts and some of the most common mistakes people make.
- Do address your letter to a specific person; you must do everything you can to find out who will be reviewing your resume and cover letter and include that person’s name on the letter if at all possible.
- Do send an original letter for each position you apply for
- Do use a neutral salutation and avoid “Gentleman,” “Madam,” and other sexist salutations
- Do speak to the specific job requirements
- Do keep your cover letter brief and to the point
- Do quantify and give examples of why you are more qualified than the other applicants
- Do answer the question, “Why should I hire this person?”
- Don’t use cliches like “Enclosed please find my resume”; the person reviewing the cover letter will see your resume
- Don’t send a cover letter with typos or other mistakes
- Don’t send a resume without a cover letter
- Don’t depend on the hiring manager or employer to act first. Request action such as an interview, and tell the employer that you’ll follow up to see if that’s a possibility. Then do so. Don’t promise to take action and then fail to do so.
Most Common Cover Letter Mistakes
Some of the most common cover letter mistakes are sending out a cookie cutter cover letter for numerous jobs and not addressing the cover letter to a certain individual. Starting off weakly with something like, “I am applying for…” will cause your reader to immediately lose interest. Instead, start your cover letter with something more dynamic like, “Your need for an experienced Web developer is a good match for my six years of experience in…”
Another common mistake is that people make their cover letters too long. Limit all cover letters to two short paragraphs for emails and 3-5 short paragraphs for a faxed cover letter. A very common cover letter mistake is that people summarize their resume. You don’t want to do this as it wastes the hiring manager’s time. Focus on the parts of your background that are directly related to the job and note any relevant accomplishments, classes or certifications.
Don’t forget to include your contact information and make sure it’s accurate. Inaccurate contact information is actually a common mistake on cover letters and resumes. Failing to proofread is the most common mistake.
And remember, if your cover letter has one typo, you will most likely be omitted from the pool of applicants.
Be sure to order resume paper from PaperDirect for all your cover letter needs this year.