More often than not, applicants mistake the cover letter as a formality but it actually can be used as a great selling tool. We’re sure you have heard the old saying, “you only get one chance to make a first impression,” whether it is a good or bad one will depend on you. The cover letter is often your first impression on an employer and many times it is viewed before the resume. Your cover letter and resume should complement each other, as it is part of your entire package. You can ensure you put yourself in a position to separate yourself from the pile of applicants by intriguing the reader (hiring manager) and not making these cover letter mistakes on your cover letter:
Mistake #1: Using a Weak Cover Letter Opening
The cover letter is an opportunity to sell YOU. Tell your story by grabbing the reader’s attention with an opening that has punch.
Mistake #2: Omitting Your Top Selling Points
Convince the reader why you are qualified for the position and should be called for an interview. Emphasize how your top accomplishments match up with qualifications and experience required in the job posting.
Mistake #3: Making It Too Long
Cover letters should be one page or less. Be brief, be brilliant, and be respectful of the reader’s time.
Mistake #4: Repeating Your Resume Word for Word
Your letter shouldn’t repeat your resume verbatim. Take the time to re-word statements and give the reader something different. Express your interest in the company and share how your skills can help improve the bottom line.
Mistake #5: Forgetting to Customize
Often, applicants use the same document template for multiple positions. It can be a huge turn off if you forget to customize the cover letter for that specific job. Even worse, if your cover letter has the wrong company, address, or contact information on it.
Mistake #6: Addressing To Whom It May Concern
Do not use “To Whom It May Concern” in your greeting, it is outdated and can be taken as an insult. Do your homework and find out who the hiring manager is to personalize the cover letter to that individual. If all else fails simply address it to “The Hiring Manager.”
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