Tuesday, February 5, 2013

10 Phrases That Don't Belong in Your Cover Letter


Think your cover letter is perfectly crafted? Check to make sure you're not including any of these no-nos in it.

1. "I meet the requirements for the position." Hundreds of candidates will meet the requirements for the position. That's not enough to get you a second look. You want to explain why you're an excellent candidate, not just an adequate one.

2. "I'm hard-working and a great communicator." And probably a team player and an independent self-starter, too. These are cliches that cause hiring managers' eyes to glaze over. Worse, they don't convey anything of substance—the fact that you've assessed yourself as these things will hold no weight whatsoever with employers, who prefer to assess these things for themselves.

3. "I'm a visionary leader." But not very humble, apparently. If you're truly a visionary leader—or a master communicator, or whatever other brag you're tempted to make—it should be evident from the accomplishments you've listed on your resume. Proclaiming this about yourself comes across as, well, weird.

4. "You won't find a candidate better qualified than me." Unless you've seen the rest of the candidate pool, you have no way of knowing that. This comes off as needlessly cocky hyperbole—and it's generally inaccurate, to boot. If you're really stunningly qualified, the hiring manager should be able to spot that on her own. Simply proclaiming it, especially when you have no basis to know if it's true, doesn't reflect well on you.

5. "Dear sir or madam." In most industries, this will come across as an antiquated, stuffy salutation. If you know the hiring manager's name, use that instead, but if not, simply writing "dear hiring manager" is fine, and won't make you appear as if you come from an earlier century.

Phrases 6-10 and Complete USNews article

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