Many job seekers focus on perfecting their resume and often forget the importance of a cover letter. A well written cover letter can increase your chances of an interview dramatically. It's your chance to add a human touch and some personality to your application. With that said, a mediocre or bad cover letter can do more harm than good and if you won't put in the effort, it's better not to send one at all.
We've compiled the most common cover letter mistakes that drive hiring managers mad and could be costing you the chance at an interview.
9 Common Cover Letter Mistakes
Not Sending a Cover Letter
We just had to make this #1 as it's one of the most common mistakes job seekers make. Simply blasting your resume out to every job opening you find is very ineffective.
You should be sending a well written and tailored cover letter with every job application unless the instructions request a resume only. Although it does happen, it's rare that an employer will ask you not to send a cover letter.
Although this would be an obvious cover letter mistake, many job seekers rely on a word processor to correct all their mistakes.
Hiring manager are quick to dismiss a cover letter with spelling errors. Have an extra pair of eyes review both your resume and cover letter before submitting it.
Both your resume and cover letter should be written to sound confident. Many use weak language on their cover letter which often gets dismissed by a hiring manager. Take a look at the following example:
"I think that my qualification and experience would be a good fit for the position".
"I'm confident that my qualifications and experience would be a good fit for the position".
There is a big difference between the first and second sentence. The employer doesn't want to think you may be a good fit, they want to be confident that you're the perfect candidate for the job. It's important to always use confident language on your resume and cover letter.
Not formatting correctly is also a common cover letter mistake. Your cover letter heading should look like this:
City, State | Contact Number | Email
Receiver's Name, Title
Many job seekers make the mistake of talking about themselves and their needs rather than focusing on what the hiring manager and company are looking for. Don't go on forever about your skills, qualifications and your career objective.
The only thing the hiring manager wants to know is whether or not you're qualified and how you can benefit the company. It's your job to show that effectively and concisely on your cover letter.
Another common cover letter mistake is writing too much. A hiring manager doesn't want to read a page long cover letter. Keep your cover letter from 1/2 - 2/3 in page length which is usually three paragraphs.
If your content comes out a bit long, you can decrease your font size to a minimum of 11. Some fonts also appear larger so you can change your font but ensure that it's professional and acceptable.
Another common cover letter mistake is simply repeating everything you said on your resume. Your cover letter should contain your major qualifications and background.
It should also be written in a conversational and friendly tone where you explain why you're the perfect fit and how you can benefit the company.
Blasting Out the Same Cover Letter
A hiring manager who reviews tons of resumes and cover letters can tell when your cover letter hasn't been tailored. This means that you're sending the same cover letter to every open position. Always make an effort to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific opening or company.
Try to find the name of the hiring manager in charge and ensure you use the name of the company in the body of the cover letter. (Example - "I'm confident that my skills and qualifications would be perfect for this position at Google ).
Over 58% of hiring managers have caught a lie on a resume or cover letter. Don't make up any title or responsibilities you never had. You should instead focus on the skills and experience that's most relevant to the position. Lying about education is also a criminal offense in most states. Be honest!
You can also check out our post on what a cover letter should like.
Don't overlook the importance of the cover letter when applying for jobs. A well written cover letter could be the difference between landing the job or being ignored by the hiring manager.
As always, good luck with your job search!
The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.