Don’t make these 5 cover letter mistakes.
Human Resources Directors often see hundreds of cover letters a day, and there are some disastrously lame mistakes that really could be avoided with just a little thought. Let’s look at the worst of the worst and fix them, if you’re making them.
1 – Lame Introductions
Dear Madam. Dear Sir. To whom this may concern. Really? You couldn’t take two minutes to pull up a website and see who is the head of the department where you’re applying for a job? Perhaps you could even have called the company and asked how that person prefers to be addressed? That’s a simple phone call, and usually a secretary or receptionist will know the answer to that question.
2 – Weak & Boring First Lines
Of course, you heard about this job somewhere, and yes… we know you’re seeking work in our company. But can you jazz that up a little bit and make it interesting? How about:
- My next best seller can wait, I need to get this detailed message to your HR department before sundown, or the moon will come up without it!
- A funny thing happened when I sat down at the computer today. Your name popped up and I realized how important it is to share this message with you.
- You may not have heard of me, but I’m your next executive assistant. My name is Susan. I have a great dog, but I promise not to bring him to the office.
- Captivating your attention encourages me to write better, grammar and punctuation are important to editors.
- Zig Ziglar once said that to be successful you must help others to succeed. I’ve chosen to help you become more successful today. The first step of course, is for you to read this message and let’s schedule an appointment. I’m available at your leisure…
The most important part of your first line is to captivate the readers attention and make them want to read more. Don’t lie. Don’t over hype your abilities, but DO sound interesting, fun, and innovative. Those may be top qualifications for the job.
3 – Don’t Gush
Hopefully you’re not already in love with your supervisor, and you’re not interested in dating the person reading your letter. Don’t write like it’s your first response after a great date.
Don’t beg. Please don’t beg. It makes you should desperate.
4 – Disclose No Secrets
Aunt Betty’s surgical results really aren’t part of the information your new boss needs to know, nor is the fact that your left foot is bigger than your right. Don’t tell him.
Airing your laundry probably isn’t a good idea no matter how much you want this letter ignored by the reader. Trust me, if you do tell them too much personal stuff in this letter, they will ignore it. They will put it at the bottom of the stack and probably even circular file it.
5 – Missed Opportunities
This message is your first opportunity to highlight the incredible skills, personality, and knowledge you bring to the job. Don’t let it pass you by.
Use the space on this page to show case your skills, spill your personality, and reveal the knowledge and fundamental value that you bring to the job. Your words matter here. Use them well.
Now that you know you can employ great presentation skills, do that. Invite them to know you better, by giving them a reason in your cover letter.