Top 5 Things to Avoid in a Cover Letter

A cover letter can make or break your chances of being hired. It is the first thing a company’s hiring manager looks at and if it isn’t well written, your resume may not even be seen. You want to make sure your cover letter will catch attention for the right reasons so your resume and application are put in with those targeted for further review and interviews.

Certain mistakes are made by many people applying for employment that cause hiring managers not to consider the applicant for a position needing to be filled. These mistakes need to be avoided if you want to be considered by any company you apply to. Though there are others, here are the top 5 things you want to avoid when you write your cover letter.

Failure to proofread – It is easy to get caught up in presenting your information in the letter and forget to double check your writing. Typos are easy to make and easy to overlook as are spelling errors. Go over your cover letter after you write it with a focus on the small details such as typos and spelling. Use a spell checker but don’t rely on it completely. Reread the letter several times to be sure you catch all the errors.

Too focused on self – While the idea of a cover letter is to sell yourself to your potential employer, don’t focus too much on yourself or appear to be boasting. Instead, present yourself in a manner that is focused on how you would be an asset to the company. Make it more about the company than yourself. Researching the company will help you do this.

Pointing out skills you don’t have – You might feel it is just being honest to say that you lack one or two of the required skills. It is better to focus on the skills you do have and not on those you don’t.

Mentioning reasons for leaving past employment – It is best not to mention why you are leaving or have left your previous position, especially if it was not on good terms. This could red flag you as a potential problem the company might not wish to deal with.

Including salary expectations in your cover letter – Your cover letter is too soon for any discussion about pay. Including it in the cover letter could lead the hiring manager to believe you are only interested in money and not being a part of the company. Save that for later during an interview and then it is best if the interview introduces the subject.

If you can avoid these 5 mistakes when you write your cover letter, your chances of getting hired are much better. Much of the information you put in can be used in every cover letter you submit with your resume but be sure you change any company information to fit the particular company you are applying to. So you keep your cover letters consistent, keep a copy of one in your personal files to use as a model for later ones you need to write.

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