Fixing Cover Letter Blunders

John Krautzel
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One of the most important elements of obtaining job opportunities is crafting cover letters that are engaging, compelling and grammatically correct. Hiring managers pour over these documents carefully and weed out applicants who write letters riddled with errors or communicate information that is not relevant to the industry. Ensure your application materials make it to the top of the priority stack by learning how to fix errors that can halt your job opportunities.

Drop the Generalities and Be Specific

Employers are seeking candidates who have put in ample time and effort to learn about their products, services, operations and company culture. A common mistake that job seekers make when writing cover letters is they use general language that is not specific enough to the business or position. Instead of beginning your letter with "to whom it may concern," research the company to identify an individual or hiring manager who is likely to read through your application materials. While the job description may not detail this information, you can avoid making this common mistake by calling the company and requesting the correct spelling of the person's name who evaluates resumes for this position. You can also utilize social media and look up names of hiring managers on LinkedIn or Twitter to include in your cover letter, suggests Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter with GlassDoor.

Put Less Focus on You and More on How the Company Benefits

Although a cover letter is designed to highlight your skills, experience and personality, it should not focus solely on how you benefit from the opportunity. Overuse of the word "I" shows that you are focused on your own personal and professional benefits. Instead of beginning most of your sentences with this me-focused word, craft your sentences to show how you are a good fit for the company. For example, instead of writing, "I have knowledge of the industry," go one step further with a phrase such as, "Your company is prominent within the industry, and my knowledge of this field allows me to help maintain the prestigious brand of your products, services and company image."

Keep Them Interested Through the End

Job seekers commonly struggle with how to close cover letters. Keep the momentum going instead of losing steam at the end. Create a compelling call to action to close out the letter. Note that you are anxious to meet with the hiring manager in person to discuss how you can make an impact as a member of the team, and include your contact information. If you have a professional website or portfolio, refer potential employers to these links so they can further evaluate your skills.

It takes time to find the right tone for your cover letter, but with practice, you can craft a customized letter for each position that is bound to capture attention. Be keenly aware of common mistakes, and revise your job materials thoroughly so you can stand out from the rest of the candidates.

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