Cover letters – recruiters either seem to love them or hate them. But job seekers should learn to love them (and write them well) because it doesn’t appear they’re going out of style just yet. If given the option, it is better to include a cover letter and cover your bases than to skip it and miss the opportunity to make a stronger impression. However, here’s the catch: you’re only going to make stronger impression if your cover letter is written well and grabs the hiring manager’s attention. Otherwise, it’s a waste.

Here are a few common mistakes to avoid:

  • Too Generic

While you want to limit your cover letter to one page, you want it to actually contain meaningful information that will make a hiring manager want to know more. A quick two-liner that says, “My name is John Doe and I’m applying for the X position at ABC company. Attached is my resume,” isn’t going to cut it. Add context. Add accomplishments. Add something that tells the employer you did your research, you know about their company, and this is why you’d be a great fit. Every cover letter you send should be tailored for the company and position.

  • Too Much Fluff

Don’t just add information for the sake of adding information. While fancy adjectives, technical jargon, and sophisticated sentences can seem impressive at first glance, they often don’t communicate much. Focus on giving an employer real information that they can use. Highlight skills and accomplishments that help them see how you’d benefit the company and what sets you apart from the next person.

  • Too Cliché

Is your cover letter full of phrases touting that you’re a hard worker, a people person, a fast learner, or a team player? Does it state how excited you are for this opportunity or that it’s your dream job? Pass. Make what you say count. Give real-world examples of how you’ve made a difference. Keep it professional yet simple, not bogged down with empty phrases that could apply to every other job seeker.

  • Too Stiff

Remember that your cover letter is your chance to add some personality. You have a bit more flexibility than in your resume – and your cover letter definitely shouldn’t be a rehashing of your entire resume. Instead, take time to elaborate a bit more on something you’re especially proud of (that is relevant to the job) or that you think would appeal to a hiring manager. Show your enthusiasm through your ability to connect your capabilities with the company’s needs. Once again, think about what might set you apart from someone else and make you the best fit for the job and company culture.

Make your cover letter work for you, not against you. It should complement your application package and help to round you out as a person. Contact Grammar Chic for assistance in writing your cover letter as well as your resume to ensure that everything is cohesive. Call (803) 831-7444 or email to learn more.