Face facts! Some recruiters will never read your cover letter. And the rest might trash your resume if it doesn’t include one. Since you can never know which type of recruiter will receive and assess your documents, it’s best to assume that cover letters are a critical piece of your application process. However when it comes to applying to jobs, cover letters are probably the last thing you think about. But studies show that a growing number of recruiters now treat cover letters as mini job applications. It acts like a deciding factor that determines whether your resume earns a glance or ends up in trash.
Cover letters are basically your first opportunity to make a positive impression on your prospective employers. It’s also an opportunity to introduce your resume and expand on your key achievements and accomplishments. But problems can often begin in your cover letter and roll right through the rest of your resume. So as a sensible jobseeker why not follow suit and create cautiously crafted letters that declare your aptness for the job – and compel employers to hire you.
So here are some common cover letter mistakes to avoid that can kill your chances:
Not sending one:
This is the worst blunder of all. You’re competing against so many other candidates who have immediately shown that they spent more time than you while applying to jobs. So to avoid unwanted disappointment and regret, always include a cover letter with you resume, unless the application process specifically requests you not to.
Too much verbose:
Substance is good but you have to keep it mind that recruiters are busy people and have hundreds of applications to scan. So you don’t really want to bore them with your extensive narrative. It doesn’t really matter how remarkable you are, nobody wants to read pages about the story of your life. So be choosy and savvy. Use your cover letter to show the very best side of you, talk about things that can spark the interest of the employers. Don’t waste time by writing irrelevant details. Keep your paragraphs short, crisp and snappy and your cover letter to one page. Talk about the finest things first! You don’t have to use cheap tricks to attract employers, but front-loading a cover letter with your most impressive and significant stuff is a great way to make people read the rest.
It’s only about you:
So technically your cover letter should only talk about you but if it starts to sound self-obsessed, self-centered or full of yourself then stop, think again and rephrase. While you want to sell yourself, don’t forget to describe how you would add value to the job and company in question. Rather than merely broadcasting your experience and kills, say how they relate to the job you’re applying for. CONNECT with employers and demonstrate that you UNDERSTAND their requirements and needs. If you take a minute to know your audience, suddenly, your cover letter will transform into a totally new document for you. It will become a means to sell yourself and not just a paper to blab about things that don’t really matter.
When you apply to a number of similar job openings, chances are that you tweak one letter and use it multiple times, which is fine, as long as you customize every letter. But avoid using template cover letters as seasoned recruiters can easily spot them. Instead, tailor your cover letter according to the job you apply for. Use words which endorse your relevant skills and attributes. Using plain, vanilla statements which proclaim your status as a hard working, result oriented person with outstanding communication skills is passé. Think unique, specific and relevant.
Not checking for typos and grammar:
Employers see typos and grammatical mistakes as evidence of your negligence and failure to write. So proofread every cover letter you send or have someone to double-check it for you. As competent as you might be for the job, you’re likely to suffer if your cover letter is full of typos, grammatical and spelling mistakes. A well formatted and properly written cover letter devoid of any mistakes shows that you’ve put an effort which matters.
Employers want to hire a personality not just a set of skills! Your cover letter is your chance to show them your personality and to make it stand out prior to an interview. So don’t throw away the opportunity. Grab it!