With the hundreds of resumes and cover letters we all send out we are bound to make a mistake. I try my best to keep all used cover letters and those I can reuse separate. I also make sure to update position titles and company names in the case I do reuse a cover letter that may fit for more than one job description.
Last week I came across the top 7 cover letter blunders that I would like to share with you:
1. Incorrect Company Name. (See above)
2. Unreasonable Length: “Although you may have much useful information to offer, keep in mind that recruiters will often go through hundreds of applications. They simply do not have time to read through a three page cover letter, even if all of the presented information is important. The absolute maximum length for a cover letter, including the headings should be a page.”
3. Restating Your Resume: “The purpose of the cover letter is to identify your skills and explain how your previous work experiences are applicable to the desired position. Simply restating all of the facts on your resume, without going into an explanation of why you skills and experiences are important defeats the purpose of the cover letter.”
4. Identifying Weaknesses: “Another primary goal of your cover letter should be to identify the strengths that make you the best candidate for the position. Talking about your weaknesses is not only complete waste of space, but also counterproductive to the goal of getting the interview.”
5. Sounding Arrogant: “Although you have to identify your qualifications and positive traits, ensure that your cover letter does not portray you as being arrogant. Excessive overuse of the words “I”, “me” or “my” can make you sound conceited and as one with a limited vocabulary. Furthermore, repeating any word too often reflects poor writing abilities.”
6. Adding Unnecessary Information: “…focus on your relevant qualifications to the role. If applying for an accounting position, the fact that you have ran a marathon should not be prime focal point…”
7. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes: Here are a couple of stories I have heard from friends. One overlooked the word “shift” being spelled incorrectly and the word check did not pick it up, as the other word, without the letter f, was also correct. Another friend said that while quickly responding to e-mails he learned the hard way that the letters “t” and “g” are very close together. Be careful when writing simple things like, “Regards.”
“The obvious criteria which apply to professional emails, school exams and resumes are all important when constructing the cover letter. Spelling and grammar problems are a key issue which signals that the candidate did not put in the required time go through and check for potential problems.”
I hope these tips help in drafting up your cover letters!
What did you do today?