It is amazing that with all of the advice available on writing a great cover letter, mistakes continue to be made. This isn’t to say that you have to be perfect 100% of the time, but you do need to strive for perfection.
So how to you kill a great cover letter?
Grammar and Spelling: Not only is this the fastest way to ruin a cover letter, it is also the most preventable. Proofreading your cover letter will ensure that you won’t be rejected for preventable mistakes. It only take a few minutes and it can make all the difference in landing an interview.
Informal Language: Your cover letter is a formal piece of correspondence and not the place for informal language. Avoid slang and conversational language and ensure that the tone of your letter stays professional.
Generic Text: Another major mistake made by job hunters. For many people, the job hunt is a numbers game. It is easy to blast out resumes to every job posting that you come across, with a generic cover letter attached. However, if you don’t give the recruiter the sense that you are interested in their company, success will be hard to come by. Tailor your cover letter to the specific company and you will have more “luck”.
Lying: This is self explanatory. If you are caught lying, you won’t even make it to the interview. Even worse, if your lie is caught after you are hired, it is grounds for immediate dismissal.
Unsigned Letter: A simple mistake but one that is easy to make. If you forget to sign your cover letter, it will give the wrong impression to the interviewer. Double check that each letter you send our has your signature.
Missing Contact Information: If you don’t let them know how to contact you, how do you expect to land an interview?
No Objective: Your cover letter is the start of your personal sales pitch. If the employer doesn’t know what you are selling, or even what job you are applying to, then it is easy to discount you as an applicant. Make sure that you state up front who you are, what you have to offer, and what job you are applying to.
Too Long: You don’t want to overwhelm the reader at first sight. Keep your cover letter brief. It should be no more than one page and should contain no more than five paragraphs.
Keep these pitfalls in mind and you are on your way to a perfect cover letter.