Are You Making These Mistakes in Your Cover Letter?

John Krautzel
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When reviewing application materials, hiring managers are seeking candidates who can articulately detail their skills and experience in a cover letter. This letter serves as the foundation for how you are evaluated, assessed and considered for the position. One small mistake can eliminate you from the candidate pool. Look out for common errors to ensure you are submitting application materials that showcase your professional nature.

Putting the Sole Focus On You

Your cover letter should detail your skills and experience relevant to the position, but it should not solely focus on how you benefit from the opportunity. Research the company extensively during your job search to identify how the business operates, how employees contribute to the profits and profitability, and how the company projects its culture. Assess your skills and experience, and explain how you can make an impact and help continue the success of the business. For example, if the company's sales numbers have continued to grow, mention that you would like the opportunity to use your sales experience and sales strategies to further develop the sales department. Compliment the accomplishments of the business to show that you are well-versed in its operations and achievements.

Writing an Impersonal Letter

Write a personalized letter for each position you apply for during the job search. Although it may seem logical to use a template, hiring managers can detect a generic cover letter right away. Show that you have put in additional effort to research the company and thoroughly scan the job description to identify the skills and experience you possess that are relevant to the position. Use keywords from the job description to help potential employers quickly notice that you are the ideal candidate for the job. Detail specific instances where you have worked well with teams, satisfied customer needs and served as an example for other employees in past positions. Get creative with your wording so your cover letter is not impersonal or bland by tossing out overused phrases in the introduction, such as "I am applying for XYZ position."

Neglecting to Proofread

Avoid the risk of your cover letter landing in the trash due to glaring errors and awkward phrases. Spend ample time proofreading to ensure your letter does not have any punctuation, grammar or spelling errors. Your credibility takes a hit when potential employers find errors in your application materials. The errors, although unintentional, communicate that you produce sloppy work or do not pay close attention to detail. This is not the impression you want to make before you have a chance to interview for a position with the company.

Avoid making mistakes on your cover letter by carefully reviewing your application materials and identifying key skills and attributes the company is seeking. Enlist a member of your professional network to help you review your job applications, letters and resumes to ensure you are putting your professionalism on display.

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