How do you get your foot in the door when applying for a job? You write an attention-grabbing, killer cover letter. It's all about first impressions, so carefully craft your cover letter to be the best presentation of yourself. You want potential employers to be excited to meet you and clamoring to get you on their team. Avoid these eight mistakes, and you'll be able to put together a letter that does just that.
1. Not leading with your best
Selling yourself to an employer starts with highlighting the strengths and abilities that will make you an indispensable asset to their organization. Too many cover letters begin with the fatal phrase, "Although I do not yet have..." - which sets you up for failure from the get-go. Why even mention the areas in which you're lacking?
2. Addressing your letter to the wrong person or company
If you're using the same cover letter to apply for a number of jobs, you might be making a mistake without even noticing. The most important thing to watch out for is that you've used the correct company name and information.
3. Skipping proofreading
Sending out cover letters with mistakes in them tells an employer a lot about you as a worker. It suggests you’re careless and not fully committed to succeeding. Make sure you always proofread your work; if you need assistance, the Hemingway App sorts your errors in an easy-to-read, color-coded format.
For a program that works right inside of your word processor, you can download ProWritingAid to get detailed writing assistance as you work.
But nothing beats having your work read by a real person who will likely catch errors that a computer could easily miss. A second set of eyes is key.
4. Not focusing on the company
Employers want to know what you can do for them and why they should bring you onto their team. Instead of focusing just on yourself, your cover letter should also demonstrate how you would be a great fit with their particular company.
5. Being negative
Bringing up negativity reflects poorly on you as a professional. While it’s normal to explain why you’re interested in applying for a given job, employers don't want to get caught up in issues you may have had with past employers.
6. Being too modest
Sometimes it's hard to talk up ourselves to others because we don't want to seem like we're bragging or boasting about how great we are. But underselling your qualifications as a candidate could be killing your chances of getting your foot in the door.
7. Using clichés or buzzwords
Sure, they sound good, but they don't really tell an employer much about you and your qualifications. Rather than merely describing yourself as “proactive” and “detail-oriented,” outline specifics that demonstrate those qualities.
8. Including things that are too personal
If you're already letting personal matters make their way into your cover letter, an employer has good reason to believe that these issues will also make their way into your work. Keep things professional, and leave your personal life and any personal issues out entirely. For help with finding what is appropriate and what isn't, the professional resume writing services at Resumention can help.
By avoiding these 8 pitfalls, you’re bound to put your best foot forward and leave an unforgettable first impression with your cover letter.
Gloria Kopp is a web content writer and an elearning consultant from Manville City. She graduated from University of Wyoming and began her career as a business writer; now, she works as a part-time blog editor at Essayroo. She is a regular contributor to such websites as Australian help, Engadget, and Huffington Post.
This article was written by a FGB Contributor.