Many job seekers lament having to compose cover letters. Unfortunately, many hiring managers don't find them very exciting to read, either. Far too many good candidates find their applications in the trash due to poorly worded, generically formatted cover letters riddled with clichés and mistakes. Don't let this happen to you; review the following common cover letter mistakes, and find out what you can do to fix them.
"Dear Sir or Madam"
Using a generic greeting is one of the worst ways to open your cover letter. If you want to grab the hiring manager's attention, you must address that individual directly. Scour the company website or job posting for the name, and if you can't find it, give the office a call. You want decision makers at the company to know you've done your due diligence prior to approaching them for a job; it shows determination and resourcefulness.
"I’m Interested in Applying For X Position"
Far too many job seekers begin their cover letters with this overused and unnecessary statement. The reason you've written the letter is obvious: You want to apply for the position. Announcing this in your opening paragraph is redundant and boring. Your first paragraph is prime cover letter real estate that you should devote to introducing your story with a bang. Introduce yourself, and give a short personal story that illustrates why you want to apply. This helps communicate not only your desire for the position, but your passion and enthusiasm as well.
"I am the Perfect Candidate Because"
It should go without saying that, as you've applied for the position, you believe you're a good fit for it. So instead of declaring that you're the perfect candidate, explain how your qualifications match the company's goals. Remember: The cover letter is about what you can do for the company. Use concrete examples from your work history to illustrate your claims and add validity and strength to your statements.
“References Available Upon Request”
This is one of the most overused phrases on cover letters and resumes alike. These days, it is expected that every candidate can provide references, so saying so is unnecessary. Just remove this line altogether. Instead, reach out to your references ahead of time to let them know you're in the job market. As you submit applications and schedule interviews, keep them updated. This way, they'll be well prepared to receive phone calls and inquiries regarding your character and work ethic.
The cover letter can be challenging to write, especially when you have to write a different letter for each job application. It's a crucial part of your overall candidate profile because it introduces you as a person in a way your resume simply can't. Make your cover letter stands out for all the right reasons by avoiding common mishaps.
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