Avoid These Common Cover Letter Mistakes

The cover letter is your introduction to a potential employer. It shows hiring managers that you can communicate quickly and effectively. The savvy candidate knows to treat it like a marketing tool, using it to convince potential employers to call them in for an interview.

A poorly constructed cover letter is going to ruin all chances of getting the job. If you want to make sure your cover letter is all it can be, review yours for these cover letter mistakes.

  • No recipient in the address. No, the name of the hiring manager isn’t always available, but do what you can to find it. Call the company and ask. Check the website. Do not give up until you’ve exhausted all avenues. If you can’t find a name, use “Dear Hiring Manager,” not “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Paying too much attention on training and education can leave hiring managers thinking you lack hands-on experience. Whether you’re recently graduated or have never worked in an industry, the cover letter should quantify relevant experiences in the form of transferable skills and successful projects, not coursework.
  • Focusing on what the hiring manager can do for you as opposed to what you can do for the hiring manager. Hiring managers want to know what your experiences and skills can do for their bottom line. Stay away from topics about fulfilling your career dream of working with them or your salary requirements. Tell the employer how you can contribute to their operations.

  • Careless proofing of content has probably killed more opportunities than anything else. If you can’t write three paragraphs without making mistakes, what hiring manager is going to trust you with their operations?
  • Don’t repeat what’s in the resume. The cover letter is the place where you should go into detail about projects you’ve worked on and successes you’ve had that are only mentioned on the resume in bullet points. Similarly, it’s where you can discuss how the company’s job description fits your qualifications. Simply repeating what’s already included in your resume is a waste of an opportunity to further convince the employer you’re the right person for the job.

And don’t forget, between our free online Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder, LiveCareer has the fastest, easiest and most effective resources for creating impressive credentials.


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