Mistakes to Avoid in a Cover Letter

Cover Letters are an integral part of applying for a job and they are relevant as ever. Cover Letters help you stand out in a crowd of many other candidates and they make your interaction with the hiring manager a little more personalized. You cannot talk much about yourself and what value you can bring to the company in the CV so this is where cover letters come in. They can be used to make an impact on the hiring manager that will put you apart from the rest of the candidates.

Writing a good cover letter takes effort and practice, you will need to do a lot of research before you can go off and start writing one. We are going to list some common mistakes that you should avoid making in your cover letter at any cost, they will help you perfect a cover letter that is ready to send out and guaranteed to impress the hiring manager.

1. Not writing one:

Making a cover letter might seem unnecessary to you but it just might be what the hiring manager needs to schedule you for an interview. You should always send a cover letter even if it is not required for applying. A cover letter has huge advantages and missing out on them is just plain foolish. Hiring managers receive hundreds of CVs and it can be hard to make an impact on them but a cover letter can help you do just that. If you send in an extra something other than just the CV, they will remember your name and that will prove beneficial for you.

2. Talking too much about yourself:

A company is looking for employees who can do something for them, bring value to their company, and improvise their operations utilizing their experience and expertise. While the hiring manager does want to hear about your accomplishments and achievements, the main thing they focus on is why you will be a good fit for the job. So, avoid using the cover letter to talk only about yourself as the CV will cover a lot of that and you can also discuss all of that in the interview. For the cover letter, just focus on how you will be able to help the company and what you can do for their benefit.

3. Writing details about your personal life:

A hiring manager is not interested in why you left your previous job or why you changing a career, if you are relocating or if you were fired due to an accident. Save these things for the interview where you will get plenty of time to talk about these things. Writing them in your cover letter will only make you look insecure in front of your potential new boss and it might feel like you are trying to cover your insecurities if you focus too much on the past. Hiring managers are interested in your present, they want to know what you can do instead of hearing about your previous failures. Also, avoid bashing or talking bad about your previous employee in the cover letter, or even in the interview, as that can make a negative impact. If you really have to, do not go into too much detail just say something like “It was not a good match”.

4. Making spelling and grammatical errors:

Making typos or other errors on your cover letter will not make you look dedicated, which was the whole point of writing the cover letter. Some people believe that it is okay to make a few spelling mistakes in your cover letter or CV and it will not harm you, but that is wrong. Spelling errors will make the hiring manager think you were not dedicated enough to proofread your cover letter and you just wrote it for the heck of it. So, make sure you read your cover letter or have a friend read it to make sure there are no errors in it. You can also print out the letter and then read it since it is easier to spot mistakes when we read something on paper. You can also use applications like “Grammarly’ to make your letter free of spelling or grammatical errors.

5. Using a generalized cover letter:

Copy pasting a cover letter from the internet or simply sending in a template from the internet is not the right way to go about a cover letter. Templates exist to guide you, not for copying. Your cover letter needs to be tailored to every job you are applying for. Using one generalized cover letter for every job will make you seem less dedicated and make the hiring manager believe you did not put in much effort. Just like your CV, cover letters are also scanned by the ATS so make sure it is tailored to the job by using keywords from the job description. Each cover letter needs to have the name of the company you are applying to so even if you are using a general template, make sure you change the name for every job.

6. Not doing research on the company:

You need to have a clear idea about what the company you are applying to does, what are its cultural values and the name of the hiring manager. Research about the company and find out as much as you can because if you write a cover letter without having any knowledge about that company, the hiring manager will easily figure it out. Also, long gone are the days of referring to the cover letter as “Dear sir/madam” or even worse “to whom it may concern”, now you need to write the name of the hiring manager so that you will easily be able to find via online research. However, if you cannot find the name anywhere you can write “Dear hiring manager” or “dear HR manager”. You also need to mention the name of the company you are applying to somewhere in the letter to make the hiring manager believe you are dedicated and hardworking.

Some other things that you need to avoid when writing a cover letter include; making the cover letter too long, rehashing your entire CV in the cover letter, lying about an achievement or anything else, talking about the money, or not rechecking the cover letter before sending it in. Make sure your cover letter is relevant to the job and you are not giving out too much personal information. A good cover letter can be your entry ticket to getting an interview call so use it wisely.