As a job seeker, you likely spend ample time crafting a stellar resume for each desired position. But don't forget about your cover letter, as this document is equally important when it comes to impressing hiring managers and landing interviews. Just like your resume, your cover letter must be professional-looking, error-free and tailored to the specific position. There are also five things you should never include in this document.
1. Salary Requirements
Unless the job posting specifically requests salary requirements, avoid including salary information in your cover letter. Many employers include a salary range in job postings, but they typically don't negotiate salaries until they're serious about making a job offer. Knowing the actual salary is important, but it's more important to be patient, since referencing salary too quickly might ruin your chances of landing an interview.
2. Unrelated Outside Interests
Avoid including irrelevant details about personal hobbies or interests in your document; this information takes up valuable space and doesn't help employers determine if you're qualified for the position. Only include hobbies directly related to the position. For example, if you're applying for a job as a mechanical engineer and are the president of your local robotics club, include this information in your cover letter.
3. Cliché Words or Phrases
It's important to make your cover letter unique, so avoid using cliché words or phrases that don't set you apart from other candidates. Hiring managers likely see terms such as "detail-oriented," "go-getter," "results-driven" and "team-player" over and over again when reviewing application materials. Instead of using such terms, communicate your strengths by briefly describing the actual situation that occurred and the results you achieved.
4. Too Much Information
Many job seekers make the mistake of regurgitating their entire resumes in their cover letters. This often makes the cover letter too long and uninteresting. You want to capture and keep the hiring manager's attention, so keep your cover letter short, no longer than one page in length, and make sure it expounds on the knowledge, skills and abilities that make you an ideal candidate for the position.
5. Negative Experiences
It's best to keep the tone of your cover letter as positive and professional as possible, so never mention any negative experiences you encountered in previous positions or in your personal life. It's especially important to refrain from painting your former co-workers or boss in a negative light, as this might cause hiring managers to view you unfavorably. Focus on the aspects of your current or previous roles that excite you and the skills you developed that make you a great asset to your potential employer.
A well-crafted cover letter that perfectly complements your resume can increase your chances of landing a job interview. To ensure your document paints you in the most professional light possible, never include these five things. Use your cover letter to introduce yourself to the hiring manager, expound on the details in your resume and describe why you're the perfect fit for the job.
Photo courtesy of iconmac at FreeDigitalPhotos.net