6 Signs that Your Cover Letter is Missing the Mark

6 Signs that Your Cover Letter is Missing the Mark

Cover letters don’t exist simply to torture you – hiring managers use them as a tool to gain more insight into why you’re right for the job. You should view this piece of paper as an additional way to impress your potential employer, land the interview, and ultimately, get the job you’ve always dreamt about.

That said, there are a number of ways that you can miss the mark when it comes to creating an effective cover letter. So before you submit that application, take a look at these 6 signs that your cover letter is doomed for the rejection pile and, well, don’t do them.

  1. Using the same cover letter for every job and company. Not only should you tailor every cover letter to the position you are applying for, you should also make sure to address the letter to the specific recipient. Stay away from a “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern” greeting. Take the time to research and find out who the letter should be addressed to.
  1. Talking about everything the company can do for you (instead of what you can do for the company). This is a common mistake among new college grads. Employers want to know what you can do for their bottom line, not what they can do to make all your career dreams come true. So make sure you highlight the skills and qualities you’ll bring to the company.
  1. Pointing out all the things (you think) the company is doing wrong. While you may think providing insight on how to improve the business will win you points, all it’s going to do is annoy the hiring manager. It’s one thing to want to bring your expertise to the organization, it’s another to focus on all the areas where they desperately need your help.
  1. Using unnecessary big words. If your cover letter sounds like a thesaurus threw up all over the page, you know you have a problem. Write professionally, but make sure it sounds like you know what you’re talking about, and not just stringing a bunch of long words together in order to sound smart (which you don’t).
  1. Writing a novel about your life/career. Keep your letter brief – never more than one page. Respect the time of the hiring manager and keep your cover letter to no more than four to five short paragraphs.
  2. Saying “I am the best candidate that you’ll find.” If you really are the most qualified and amazing applicant this company has ever seen, the hiring manager will be able to spot that on her own. Leave the cocky attitude out of your cover letter and let your skills, experience, and background speak for itself.

Posted on July 13, 2015



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