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Avoid these 5 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

by - 02/01/2021
"Avoid these 5 Common Cover Letter Mistakes"
Avoid these 5 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

When writing a cover letter, your main aim is making the recipient think you’re the best candidate for the job, or at least worthy of an interview. Avoid these common mistakes and make sure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression.

1.) Using a non-specific form of address

Make every effort to find out the specific person that your cover letter should be addressed to. Don’t take the easy way out and use a non-specific form such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam”. This only demonstrates that you were too lazy to find out the name of the hiring manager.

2.) Repeating what’s on your resume

Your cover letter should never be a repeat of the information your resume contains. You can highlight specific points from your resume if they are relevant to the position you’re applying for, but anything that is not specifically relevant to the position should not be mentioned in your cover letter.

3.) Using formulaic language

Your cover letter should always be tailored to the job you’re applying for—don’t assume that one letter will suffice for all jobs you apply for, regardless of how similar they might be. Read the job ad closely, find out what the employer wants, then tell them exactly what skills and experience you have that can supply it.

Avoid using clichés as much as possible—your letter should be as brief as you can make it, and clichés only waste space without telling an employer anything useful about you.

4.) Using weak or inactive language

Phrases such as “I believe” and “I feel” are weak and lack punch—replace them with “I am positive” and “I am certain”. When you use qualifiers, make them strong ones.

Similarly, use active language rather than inactive language. Instead of using a phrase such as “It was with great interest that I read your advertisement” say “I read your advertisement with great interest”. The first sentence makes the advertisement the object; the second sentence makes you the object. Active language gives your letter a more dynamic tone, and it makes your writing—and therefore you—sound more interesting.

5.) Failing to check for errors

Your cover letter demonstrates your ability to communicate using written language—allowing errors in grammar, spelling or punctuation to creep in demonstrates carelessness and inattention to detail. Print your letter, proof-read it, and ask a friend to check as well.
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