Cover Letter Blunders to Avoid

Nancy Anderson
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Consider your cover letter and resume a first impression. Together they highlight your skills and give the hiring manager an insight into your personality. Hiring managers read numerous cover letters and resumes when determining who they want to interview for an open position, so yours needs to stand out. However, you don’t want to cross the fine line that separates memorable from unprofessional. Avoid these cover letter blunders at all costs.

Trying to Be Funny

It’s possible that a hiring manager would find a cover letter that’s slightly humorous memorable, but trying to be funny can backfire. If you want a serious chance at landing an interview, you need a cover letter that shows the hiring manager that you’re serious and professional. Just make sure you write it in a casual tone so that you don’t lose the manager's attention.

Too Lengthy

If you have to disclose the amount of pages that you’re including when you send your cover letter and resume to a hiring manager, it’s too long. Try your best to keep both your cover letter and your resume to one page — two pages for your resume if you have five or more years of industry experience. The less wordy you are the better. You’ll have a chance to elaborate during your interview.

Including Mobile Apps as a Skill

Unless you’re applying for a social media marketing position, the hiring manager doesn’t need to know that you know how to use Instagram. After all, most jobs don’t require you to sit at your desk and post selfies all day.

You Are Too Good for the Position

Even if you’re willing to take a job that is considered beneath previous positions that you’ve held, don’t point that out in your cover letter. You aren’t doing the company a favor by taking a position that you consider beneath you, and all the hiring manager sees is an applicant that will get bored with the work quickly.

Making It All About You

While your cover letter should highlight your skills, you don’t want to make your cover letter all about you. Don’t rehash the information in your resume by highlighting your skills. Instead, use your cover letter to tell the hiring manager how the skills that you have will help the company.

Using the Same Cover Letter for Every Company

It’s important to use a different cover letter each time you apply for a job. Hiring managers read a lot of cover letters and resumes. It isn’t difficult to tell when someone is using a standard template.

If you want to land an interview, a well-written cover letter is imperative. Just don’t overdo it, though. You need to avoid common cover letter blunders. Keep your cover letter simple, professional and interesting, and before you know it you’ll be getting called to schedule interviews.


Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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