Your cover letter can be a valuable contribution to your application package if it is done correctly. It provides employers with initial insight into who you are and why you would make a great addition to their team. The first mistake that job seekers make is not including a cover letter when they have the opportunity to do so. If an employer does not specifically say not to include a cover letter, or there is nowhere to upload it, including it with your resume can be beneficial.
Although not all employers take the time to read them, some do, and it does not hurt to make it available and further support your qualifications. However, this means having a well-crafted cover letter that complements your resume rather than detracting from the impression you make. Here are some common cover letter mistakes that can reduce effectiveness:
Rehashing your entire career history. Your cover letter should not be a condensed version of your resume. Instead, it should focus on two or three key skills or accomplishments that you want to highlight that will make you more attractive to the employer and align with the position you are applying for. Choose elements that make you stand out or set you apart from other candidates. Avoid touching upon every role you have held or project you have worked on.
Getting too personal. Similar to your resume, your cover letter should not include irrelevant personal details. Although it is a slightly more relaxed style, it should remain professional. Do not disclose information that could lead to unintentional discrimination. While your cover letter is personal and about you, it should be geared toward the value you can provide to the employer.
Not tailoring it to the job opening. Just like your resume, your cover letter should be a fluid document. Sending out the same generic cover letter for every job does nothing to support your efforts. Instead, focus on tailoring it to each job opening. Make minor adjustments to align with what each employer is looking for in an applicant. Try to find the name of the person in charge of hiring and address it to them rather than “Sir,” “Madam,” or “To whom it may concern.” Include not only your contact information, but also the company’s contact information at the top.
Inappropriate length. Your cover letter should be limited to a single page. Any more than that is getting too detailed and runs the risk of turning employers off. At the same time, only providing a single paragraph can be ineffective as well because it does not include enough detail or support to make it worthwhile. Within a single page you should be able to highlight your most relevant skills and entice employers to want to find out more.
Spelling or grammar errors. As with any professional document, make sure you check and double check your spelling and grammar. A small mistake can make a big difference, especially if it changes the message you were trying to send. Don’t let these details detract from your qualifications for the position.
If you are unsure about what to include in your cover letter or if it is not making as strong of an impact as it could, let the professionals at Chic Resumes lend a hand. Along with professional resume writing services, we also craft engaging cover letters to help job seekers make a more positive impression. Strengthen your application by including a solid cover letter to start things off on the right foot. Contact Chic Resumes by calling (803) 831-7444 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to get started on your new resume and cover letter today.
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