You don’t get a second chance to make a great first impression and when it comes to applying for a job your cover letter is usually the first thing most employers will see. This is your chance to say “Hi, I’m here and you should really hire me” and any error will be the written equivalent of tripping over as you enter the room or spilling tea all over the boss.
It says everything about you right from the start – and that could be the bad as well as the good. It’s true that we can learn from our mistakes, but you really don’t want the application for the job of your dreams being the place to make them, do you? So ensure you don’t make them in the first place and enhance your chances of being invited for an interview by making sure your initial application stage is spot on!
Here are some of the most common – yet avoidable – cover letter mistakes that you need to guarantee you don’t make when applying for your dream job:
3) Not writing enough:The secret to a great cover letter is getting the balance just right. Too long and you will lose the attention of the person writing it (they might receive hundreds of letters for just one job), too short and it won’t say enough about you to really catch their eye. Aim for around 200-250 words maximum and pick out some of the key reasons you feel you are the ideal candidate for the job, trying to focus on one major success story you are particularly proud of. “I successfully increased revenue by 200% during my time at the company”, for example.
If your letter is good enough then you’ll have the opportunity to tell them more about yourself at the interview stage.
4) Using generic text (To Whom It May Concern):Whatever you do never use these five little words to address a cover letter. And come to think of it, Dear Sir/Madam isn’t much better either.
Do whatever you can to find out the hiring manager’s name, and address your letter to that person directly. Anything else will make you appear lazy and less than bothered if you get the job anyway.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask who it is that’s hiring for this position. You might get passed from pillar to post initially but remember, it’s a real person you are trying to impress here and little details like this can make a huge difference.
See all 5 mistakes and the complete TheUndercoverRecruiter article