While almost any cover letter creates an introduction between you and a prospective employer, a truly wonderful cover letter succinctly explains a personal connection, your qualifications and skills that fit an employer's job description. This correspondence attempts to convince a recruiter to look into your file further by taking a look at your resume. However, some common mistakes may doom your cover letter and your entire candidate file to the discard pile.
Even after you fine-tune your message into 12 to 15 sentences, physical errors in your letter may stick out and ruin your copy. Misspellings, errors in verb tense, subject/verb disagreements or poor English grammar could make your letter unreadable. Even one typo or grammatical mistake can make someone stumble over your cover letter and remember your correspondence for the wrong reasons.
To solve this problem, read your cover letter out loud to yourself and listen to how it sounds. Ask a trusted friend or family member to proofread your cover letter to get a fresh perspective.
Restating Your Resume
A cover letter introduces your resume instead of restating it. When you cram too much of your resume into an introductory letter, a recruiter does not learn anything new about your professional life. A cover letter then becomes boring and a waste of space.
Focus on a few important aspects of your career that you feel serve as highlights for the upcoming position. Weave the story of a past accomplishment into the narrative of the open position so it convinces a hiring manage to dig deeper.
Using Standard Verbiage
Starting a letter "To Whom It May Concern" means you do not take the time to tailor your cover letter. Although you feel the need to send 100 resumes to companies in the span of two weeks, a cookie-cutter approach does not work when a recruiter needs to see your dedication to a position. Writing about generic industry lingo in letter after letter does not mean anything because those words can pertain to any company.
Personalize your cover letter to the company at hand. Find the name of the person responsible for hiring you, and expound on a few details of the company that show you did your homework.
Focusing Too Much On Yourself
Your correspondence does talk about you but only in the context of the prospective employer. Avoid using too many "I" statements; rather, turn them into "we" statements. Instead of saying "I'm a good fit," explain to a recruiter how your experience relates to the job description and job duties by writing "We can take the company to new heights." "We" shows you are a team player. If your sales experience at Smith's Exteriors can move a new sales team forward, explain why in the context of your new job.
Not Asking for an Interview
Many cover letters end with a note of thanks for the hiring manger's time and consideration. Take a more proactive stance, and ask for an interview. List the best times for someone to contact you.
Your cover letter gives a recruiter a snapshot of your personality before he talks to you on the phone. As such, make it more about working as a team for the company and less about how a firm can use your special skills and talents.
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