You only get one shot at making a great first impression so you want to do nothing at all to jeopardize that! Think of all the times you applied for a job – how much effort did you put into crafting your cover letter? The same cover letter, which is the first thing your potential employer most likely reads and which entices them further to read your resume and call you for an interview.
Cover letters are an opportunity to distinguish yourself from a pile of similar looking resumes. But more so, it’s an opportunity for recruiters to weed out applicants who show poor judgment. A well crafted cover letter can lure the recruiter to read your resume. A badly crafted one, on the other hand, can nip your chances in the bud!
So to ensure that you spark the interest of the hiring manager, avoid making the following cover letter mistakes:
Not writing one:
You have to write a cover letter every time you apply for a job – Every Time – unless the application procedure spells out not to. This is your first opportunity to impress your recruiter – don’t tell them you are somebody who cuts corners, particularly on the opening requirement.
Not the right size:
Length is the first thing recruiters cite when it comes to common cover letter blunders. Recruiters are busy people; they neither have the time nor patience to sift through cover letters that are very either very lengthy or boring. An ideal cover letter should be around 250-300 words. Most employers spend about 5-10 seconds scanning them so make sure yours is crisp, easy to read and persuasive.
Fails to grab attention:
Employers probably read hundreds of cover letters for the same position so you don’t want to sound exactly like the others and throw away your chances of making your first impression. Never start your letter by saying something like “I am a Marketing manager with 6 years of experience,” or “In response to your advert for a Sales Manager, I am enclosing my resume.” This is not convincing enough to use as an opening statement. Instead, use something interesting which immediately catches the attention of your recruiter. For example: “As a Marketing Executive for my company, I’ve improved customer satisfaction to 95%- pushing our profit growth to its maximum in spite of the recession. And I’m eager to create the same results for you.” Note, each one of these sentences has information and a career defining accomplishment that is structured and laid out swiftly for the reader to absorb. Also make sure you speak exactly to the employer’s pain points while recounting your performance impacts of your previous organisations.
Not addressing the employer’s concerns:
Bragging about a list of competencies isn’t good enough to differentiate you from the others, but talking directly to the needs of the company can do the trick. You have to research about the company’s history, annual reports, and other news to comprehend their pain points. What are their growth plans? Was revenue down in previous quarters? Armed with this info, you’ll be able to connect your valuable skills to the employer’s needs much more precisely.
Sending a generic cover letter:
This one is such a huge turn off! It is something that classically annoys almost all hiring managers. Even though you can use a similar format for all cover letters, your cover letter should clarify that you want the particular job and not just any job. It’s time-consuming but highly useful to Personalise Your Cover Letter for the exact job and company. You can read the job description to single out things that are important and relevant to the particular job and talk about that in your cover letter. Flatter the individual who wrote the job advert with your response letter. Echo his words and intent and see your chances of getting a call back increase.
Forgetting the basics:
Employers are most likely to view grammatical errors and typos as evidence of your casualness and failure to write. So proofread each cover letter you send or have a friend to double-check it for you. Casual language also has no place in cover letters. You don’t want to come across as someone who takes his job casually or someone who is disrespectful. So keep your cover letter professional, formal and concise.
In simple, always send a well-written, carefully formatted cover letter with every resume. Because they say- You never get a second chance to make a first good impression.