common cover letter mistakes

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Common Mistakes

 
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Job Pixie   >   Cover Letter + Resume Tips   >   Cover Letters   >   Common Mistakes

Despite putting hours of effort into preparing their cover letter, it's not at all unknown for professionals to completely undermine their efforts through one or more sloppy mistakes. Here are the six of the most common cover letter mistakes:
  1. Not addressing your cover letter correctly: It's bad form to use a generic greeting such as "To whom it may concern" or "To the human resources manager". It's even worse to misspell the person's or company's name incorrectly. Addressing your cover letter to a specific person, and double check the spelling of both their name and the company name.

  2. Typos and spelling mistakes: While errors in the addressee or company name are the worst of these, you should be on the look-out for any spelling, grammatical or typographic errors in your cover letter. Such errors look terrible and give the impression that you are sloppy and inattentive to detail. You should use the spell checker in your word processor, but remember such tools can miss some errors - so double check everything yourself, and ask a friend or family member to re-check everything for you too.

  3. Talking about what the company can do for you: Getting the job in question may be great for your career, your self-esteem, or just your pocket, but the company doesn't want to know that. Employers are generally interested in what you can do for them, and not nearly so much as what they can do for you. Concentrate on telling them what you can bring to the table: the qualifications that make you the perfect candidate, and what you will be able to do for them after they you employ you.

  4. Re-iterating your cover letter: You presumably included your resume with your cover letter, so there's no need to restate it all. Instead focus on explaining things that are not in your resume, especially why you are the ideal candidate for this particular position. You can illustrate your points by referencing and highlighting particular qualifications or experiences on your resume.

  5. Beginning every sentence with "I": While your cover letter is about you, it's also about what you can do for the company. Beginning every sentence with "I", not only reads badly and gives a poor impression of your communication skills, it also suggests too much emphasis on yourself and not enough on what the company is going to get out of employing you.

  6. Closing poorly: One of the worst possible endings for a cover letter is to ask the employer to call you at their convenience - yet that is the way that many end. This type of generic ending shows none of your enthusiasm for the opportunity (except maybe that you haven't got any). It's much better to say that you yourself will follow-up, and indicate how you will do so. This shows that you are genuinely excited at the opportunity, and that you have a take-charge attitude - provided of course you do follow-up in the way that you promised!
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