By Amy @BubbleJobs
Here at Bubble we’re always going on about the essential attributes of any cover letter and CV so today I thought I’d take a slightly different approach to cover letter advice. You see, I know you’re fully clued up on what you should have in your cover letter but I thought I’d help to reinforce the point by showing you exactly what your cover letter should NOT look like.
Just to clarify; the following cover letter is a mock-up and not one that we’ve ever received here at Bubble (although some haven’t been far off!) but it goes a good way to highlighting some of the major mistakes job seekers make when applying for jobs. Again, just to reinforce the point; the following cover letter is never going to bag you a new job any time soon!
Hmm, so what’s wrong with it? The short answer? A LOT! Yep, seriously this cover letter is full of mistakes and bloopers that are sure to take you out of the running for any job. Not sure what we’re talking about? We’ll take you through it step by step!
1. Document Title:
What’s wrong? It’s too generic! Seriously, employers and recruiters are busy people – and it’s easy for cover letters to get lost. Make everyone’s lives a little easier and just label your cover letter with your name – hey, why not even go all out and add the company name too? A great example would be: “Amy Edwards Cover Letter – Bubble Jobs”.
2. Wrong Formatting:
We all know that letters should be formatted so our address and the date appears in the top right hand corner but neither are evident in this particular example. Remember, it’s all about etiquette and best practice – don’t think you can ignore the rules just because you’re applying online.
3. Generic Address:
OK, I know it’s not always obvious who the letter should be addressed to but using Sir/Madame is just sloppy and way too formal – particularly if you’re applying for a digital job! Do a bit of digging to try and find a name – and if you really can’t find one, just address it to the company you’re applying for a job with.
4. No Specifics
OK, so you might be applying for the current vacancy but that doesn’t really help the employer if they’ve got more than one vacancy out there at the moment – remember, it’s all about the specifics! Be sure to point out what job you’re applying for and why.
Yes, confidence is good but arrogance is bad! Remember, there’s a fine line between the two – don’t cross it!
6. Too Vague
OK, you might feel that way but why would you fit in? This statement is way too generic and doesn’t really give the employer any insight into who you are and how you might fit in with their existing team – and that’s really what they want to hear!
7. Second paragraph
Your cover letter is your chance to really ‘sell’ yourself and show the employer why you’d be the perfect candidate so try to avoid sweeping statements – and make sure you make a point of demonstrating how your existing skills lend themselves perfectly to this role.
Ouch! Seriously, way to go on turning the employer off. Remember I mentioned the line between confidence and arrogance earlier? This candidate just majorly crossed it!
9. Too Honest
D’oh! Yes, it’s good to be honest in your cover letter but there’s no need to state the obvious! Similarly, a company wants to know that you’re passionate about their business and making a real difference. Pointing out what they can do for you, rather than what you can do for them really is not advisable!
10. Wrong Company Name
Getting the company’s name wrong in the cover letter is never a good move! Remember, details count!
11. Pointing Out Company Flaws
Sigh! OK, so you know how I said in point 9 that you should clarify what you could do for the company? I wasn’t talking about pointing out their flaws! Seriously, even if you do think you could improve a company, you probably shouldn’t shout about it in your cover letter. Remember, this is the first time a company is going to hear about you – can you really afford to make the wrong impression?!
12. Text Talk
There’s nothing wrong with the above statement… except that it contains ‘text talk’ – seriously, just no!
13. “I look forward to hearing some positive feedback”
Well, that last statement’s a bit presumptuous don’t you think? Why do you think you’ll be getting positive feedback?! Yes, you want to sound optimistic but be careful not to be over-confident or presumptuous.
So there you go; some of the major flaws in this cover letter explained. If we’re being really picky here, we’d also point that the cover letter’s a bit short – can you really effectively convince an employer to interview you in just four paragraphs?! – and there are no contact details on the letter either – OK, so they might be on your CV but having them on your cover letter too isn’t exactly going to hurt is it?!
Other criticisms? Well, it’s not exactly charismatic, it doesn’t flow too well and some of the wording sounds a bit clunky! Oh, and if we’re being really picky, that font isn’t brilliant either! 😛
Spotted some mistakes you’ve got in your own cover letter too? It might be time to give it a bit of a revision – remember, our CV Tips section has lots of useful blogs on writing effective cover letters.
Similarly, if you’ve come across any major cover letter blunders in your time, leave us a comment – remember, sharing is caring!