Back in September, we published a blog post titled, “5 Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out.” This week, we’re addressing five ways to make your cover letter stand out . . . for the wrong reasons!
While you might be tempted to disregard the importance of the cover letter and instead focus on your resume, you need a solid cover letter to ensure that the hiring authority actually reads your resume. If you make one of the following five BIG mistakes with your cover letter, you just might be ensuring that your resume finds the bottom of the trash can instead.
#1—Not proofreading it carefully enough.
Remember, it’s considered good practice to customize every cover letter that you send. However, with that practice comes the danger of not changing the name of the company when you craft your next letter. This mistake speaks to the importance of proofreading your cover letter (and more than once, too). You should also have somebody else proofread it to err on the side of safety.
#2—Explaining how and why you left your last job (if you’re not currently employed).
The person reading your cover letter isn’t interested in these details. Not only does it sound like you’re trying to explain yourself, but the hiring authority is also much more interested about your future than your past. Specifically, they want to know how you’re going to help them in the future, so talking in those terms is certainly more preferable.
#3—Sharing personal information.
A cover letter is, after all, a professional document. That means it requires a thoroughly professional approach. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your individual situation, just like you shouldn’t explain how and why you left your last job, you should also not share facts about your life that will potentially turn off the hiring authority.
#4—Selling yourself short.
The cover letter is your chance to present yourself in a confident fashion, and confidence is one of the things that companies look for in potential employees. What they don’t look for are candidates who use self-defeating language such as “While you might already be looking at more qualified individuals . . .”
#5—Selling yourself long.
This is the flip side of #4. First, you shouldn’t focus too much on yourself. You should instead focus on the needs of the company. Second, don’t cross the line from being confident to being cocky by telling the hiring authority why the company should hire you. They’ll make that assessment, thank you very much. Make an even-handed presentation of your skills, abilities, and experience.
Simply put, the cover letter is as important as your resume, and if you don’t pay it enough attention, you’ll sabotage your job search.
While there are many ways to construct a cover letter in the proper fashion, strive to avoid the five mistakes listed above. Doing so can significantly increase your chances of landing a face-to-face interview.
Time Staffing Inc.