6 cover letter mistakes you might be making


You might assume cover letters are a waste of time, and job utility platforms typically make them non-compulsory. Nevertheless, skipping this step might be a mistake. In response to a survey by the résumé-creation platform ResumeLab, 87% of HR execs want that candidates embody one, and 70% would reject a candidate who doesn’t.

Since cover letters can be an afterthought and thought of second fiddle to a résumé, it’s simple to miss their significance. Be sure you aren’t committing one among these six mistakes when placing one collectively.

1. Utilizing a very formal greeting

About six out of ten HR execs think about casual greetings, like “Hello,” to be a average or major problem. However being too formal isn’t the precise alternative both, says Hari Kolam, CEO of the expertise acquisition platform Findem.

“There’s a fragile stability with being too formal or colloquial in a cover letter, however all too typically candidates err on the facet of ritual, and it really backfires,” he says. “Do not forget that there’s an precise individual studying this letter and put your self of their sneakers. How would you react to overly formal language if somebody was introducing themselves to you? There are only a few industries and positions lately the place that will be pure.”

Whereas Kolam cautions in opposition to utilizing informal openings, similar to “Hey,” he says utilizing a greeting like “Expensive Sir or Madam” is just going to sound unnatural and outdated. “Keep away from overly formal language and lengthy, difficult sentences that will disinterest the reader,” he says. “Intention to make the letter pleasant, clear, {and professional}. A great greatest apply is to analysis the corporate’s model and tailor the wording in a means that speaks their language.”

2. Sounding generic

There is no such thing as a such factor as a common cover letter, and never tailoring your letter to a selected firm is a mistake, says Liz Pawley, director {of professional} improvement and curriculum for the Lindner Profession Companies Heart on the College of Cincinnati School of Enterprise. “Your résumé serves as a brief doc in your accomplishments and {qualifications}, and the cover letter is a complement which ought to converse to your distinctive {qualifications} respective to the precise job posting,” she says.

Take the effort and time to analysis the corporate and the place, says Joanna Chavers, director of individuals and engagement on the staffing and recruiting agency Atrium. “Display that you have the talents and {qualifications} they’re on the lookout for by offering particular examples from earlier positions or life conditions,” she advises. “By taking the time and making the hassle to create a singular introduction, it demonstrates that you work onerous, you are really within the place, and they’d be sensible to put money into you.”

3. Repeating your résumé

Merely rehashing your résumé isn’t the purpose of writing a cover letter, and HR execs say this might be an indication {that a} candidate is lazy. Within the ResumeLab survey, 58% rated this as a average or major problem.

“Employers who really do take time to learn cover letters wish to see what makes you completely different, since résumés are too formulaic to permit you to do this,” Kolam says. “That doesn’t imply offering a checklist of your whole accomplishments, which may come off as generic and even boastful. Right here’s your likelihood to point out your curiosity on this particular firm and this particular job. The purpose is to make your private model shine by way of.


“Candidates ought to use the opening as a hook to elucidate why they took curiosity within the firm, and to make a connection between their attributes and what the employer is on the lookout for,” Kolam continues. “Get artistic with a narrative or narrative to catch their consideration off the bat and assist convey your model in a memorable means.”

Pawley suggests selecting two or three {qualifications} or tasks from the job description and describing how you have achieved them in your previous expertise.

4. Being too temporary or too verbose

In response to ResumeLab, 82% of the surveyed consultants think about the best cover letter size to be as much as one web page, and half of these mentioned lower than half a web page is most well-liked.

“We’re all busy, so an extended cover letter could be completely ignored by hiring managers,” Chavers says. “Maintain your letter brief, impactful, targeted, {and professional}.”

5. Not together with why you need to work there

Many candidates miss why they want to work for a selected firm, Chavers says. Whereas the “why” could be as a result of you need or want a job, there are most likely different causes.

“Have you seen an article in regards to the firm in a enterprise or commerce publication that piqued your curiosity? Do you help the identical or comparable organizations and causes? After studying your cover letter [the hiring manager] ought to recognize that you are a candidate who genuinely needs to work with them and perceive why the position wants a person like you,” Chavers explains.

Employers can attain a greater body of reference of your motivation for work by way of your cover letter, Pawley provides. “Whereas being certified for the job is essential, enthusiasm goes a great distance,” she says.

6. Not proofreading

The worst offense? Submitting a cover letter that has spelling or grammatical errors. The ResumeLab survey discovered that 76% of the HR respondents mentioned they’d mechanically reject a cover letter if it had typos or spelling mistakes.

“Do not forget that it is a writing pattern for employers to contemplate,” Pawley notes. “Mistakes in a cover letter point out you’re more likely to make extra mistakes on the job.”