Common Cover Letter Mistakes

Published: 2021-04-24

Cover Letter Mistakes | Tips & Examples |

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  • What is a cover letter mistake?
  • Why is it important to think about cover letter mistakes?
  • Common mistakes listed on your cover letter
  • Tips to fix mistakes on your cover letter

Cover letters offer you the chance to make a good first impression on an employer, so it’s important to avoid making mistakes. A cover letter serves as an introduction to your value based on your performance with previous employers and the value you can offer to your future employer. In this article, learn how to correct any mistakes when writing your cover letter so you can increase the content’s quality and influence an employer to hire you.

What is a cover letter mistake?

A cover letter mistake is an error you make when you’re trying to develop your story related to your professional experience. Mistakes can occur in the messaging of your content or with individual words that you’re typing. However, the mistakes you make can be discovered at any point during the editing process.

Why is it important to think about cover letter mistakes?

It is important to think about mistakes before you submit your cover letter with your resume. The mistakes you make on your cover letter might quickly deter an employer from reading your resume which could eliminate your chances for an interview. Improvements to the content of your cover letter might consist of prioritizing which experience you want to highlight or focusing on how you can edit your sentence structure for clarity. When you recognize cover letter mistakes, they can be a guide for you to identify a new approach as you revise your next cover letter and which way can it resonate with an employer.

Common mistakes listed on your cover letter

Check out this list of mistakes that you should watch out for when writing your cover letter:

Speaking too much about your career

You may make the mistake of talking about your experience more than the value you can offer to the company. Employers want you to expand on how your contributions can lead to their success. Your answer can demonstrate your viability as a candidate for this position and if you’re the right fit for the company’s culture. You should still note your accomplishments from positions with past employers to quantify your performance.

Discussing details from every employer you’ve worked for

You should pare down your cover letter to highlight the top achievements of your professional career. You’ll need to find out which experience is most relevant to the role you’re applying for. Another way to break down your experience is to demonstrate what skills you’ve learned throughout your career leading up to applying for the position.

Focusing on your past more than the present

You’re speaking in the present when you talk about how your experience benefits the employer. Make sure you keep this language consistent when you’re referencing your qualifications and the impact you can make on the organization. Your intent to grow the company is noticed more by employers than a full summary of past work experience.

Writing too much content and not leaving enough white space

Be sure to keep the cover letter under one page and leave room for white space. The amount of white space you have in your cover letter can increase its visual appeal and the readability of your content. You should aim to leave spaces between paragraphs and your signature, so the reader receives more clarity about the content’s structure.

Lack of examples to back up your claims

Provide examples of success within past roles to attract the employer to how you’ve contributed to a company. Employers look for transferrable skills like teamwork and communication to identify if you’re the right choice for the position. Specific examples make it easier for you to personalize your content and help the employer get to know you better.

Discussing your fandom of the company

Discussing your fandom of the company you’re applying for is similar to referring to the past. The difference is this approach solely discusses what attracted you to apply in the first place. An employer may ask this question during an interview, but you should focus on how you can offer solutions as a valuable contributor to their company in your cover letter.

Typos and grammatical errors

The identification of typos and grammatical errors is common when you’re writing any piece of content. You’ll need to be vigilant and document the errors you’ve found, so you can address them once you finish proofreading your cover letter. Make sure you read your cover letter content aloud and have someone else read it aloud before you send it and your resume to an employer.

Tips to fix mistakes on your cover letter

Refer to these steps for best practices on how to make corrections on your cover letter:

Write clear and concise content

The key to writing clear and concise content is to shorten your sentences. Sticking to the main point of what you’re trying to communicate assists the employer in understanding what you’re trying to say. Remember to balance your content with the valuable work experience you’ve earned and the immediate results the employer should expect to see upon hiring you.

Address the department’s manager

You should include the name of the manager for the company’s department in your cover letter. Even if they’re not the hiring manager for the position, they can pass your message along to the director or the vice president of the department. Addressing higher-level employees within the department can indicate that you pay attention to detail and have a desire to accept an offer for the position.

Add a referral if applicable

Using the name of a referral is crucial because they’ll know who to speak to about your experience. Check professional networking websites and contact people who work at the company you’re writing the cover letter for. Your referral should advocate for you and answer any questions they have after the employer reviews your cover letter. It’s recommended that you ask a contact to be your referral first before you list them on your cover letter.

Consider a different design

Make sure the design of your cover letter is the same as your resume to ensure consistency. The style of the design for your cover letter can enhance readability by putting more emphasis on the white space. Look at the various templates to determine which design embodies your work experience.

Inform the employer about how you plan on following up with them

Note at the end of your cover letter how you’ll follow up with the employer about the status of the position. Give your email and your phone number and state it’s the best way to contact you for an interview opportunity.

Email your cover letter to your email address

Email your cover letter to yourself, so you have a final look at its formatting. You can take this opportunity to proofread it and make any last-second edits.

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