Published on March 25th, 2013 | by Amy Edwards0
5 Killer Mistakes You Need To Avoid In Your Next Cover Letter
By Amy @BubbleJobs
In this day and age, you might think a cover letter isn’t worth the bother and doesn’t count for much anymore but we’re here to tell you that that’s a bit of an urban myth. Unlike a CV, a cover letter gives employers a chance to get a feel for the real ‘you’ so is still a crucial part of the application process – this means it’s important to get it right!
If you’ve been applying for jobs without much luck even though you know you’ve got all the skills listed on your CV the employer is looking for, it might be time to take a closer look at your cover letter. Now, when it comes to your cover letter, there are shed-loads of mistakes you can make but I thought I’d focus on the five killer blunders that are guaranteed to get your CV thrown in the bin.
1. Too Generic: The worst thing you could do when applying for a job is to send a generic “one size fits all” cover letter which isn’t personalised to the company in question in any way. Employers can spot these cover letter templates a mile off and I can tell you they’re not likely to win you any brownie points. Why? Because it shows you haven’t bothered to write a unique cover letter for your application – and no one wants to take on a lazy employee!
2. Major Errors: While minor errors like grammatical and spelling mistakes aren’t great, it’s major mistakes like misspelling the company’s name or your recipient’s name that’s really going to get you into trouble. I know creating a unique cover letter for every application can be a pain in the backside and it can be tempting to rush – but this is where mistakes happen! There’s nothing wrong with writing a cover letter quickly as long as you allow yourself plenty of time to check for mistakes – and if you’re not sure about something (ie. specific details) it’s best to just leave it out altogether than leave it in and make a major mistake.
3. Rambling: While a short cover letter isn’t a good call, one that resembles the first chapter of The Da Vinci Code isn’t the way to go either. There’s nothing wrong with going into detail in your cover letter but keep an eye on the word count and make sure you don’t get too carried away! Remember, you’ve only got a few minutes to capture an employer’s attention in your cover letter so don’t waste it! Try and keep your cover letter to two pages maximum (remember, employers don’t want to read an essay!) and make sure you’ve included all the really important information that employers want to see.
4. Making It All About You: OK, so technically your cover letter should be all about you but you need to try and relate it the company in question too. Rather than just broadcasting your skills and experience, say how they relate to the company and the job you’re applying for. Think about it; if you can break it down and tell an employer exactly what you have that they need, why wouldn’t they give you an interview?
5. Wrong Tone: There’s nothing wrong with adding a bit of personality to your cover letter as long as it matches the tone of the advert and the company overall. If you’re applying for a job with a serious accountancy firm, saying you’re the “king pin of the accountancy world and a SAGE master” probably isn’t the way to go. Similarly, if you’re applying for a young, innovative online marketing agency, keeping it too robotic and formal isn’t going to get you anywhere. Take the time to research the company and then come up with a tone and style that’s appropriate.