Are you looking for a new job? Are you actively applying for jobs? Whatever you submit to an employer (applications, or initial interest communication), it is crucial to make sure that you provide high quality information and avoid common mistakes. Any initial communication with an employer is an employer’s first impression of you, so make it count!
Here are 5 cover letter mistakes that people often make so you do not make them!
1. Incorrect Grammar or Typos
Everyone has spell check. Use it! When facing stiff competition over a job, a cover letter with grammar or typos will stick out like a sore thumb.
While no one has a perfect cover letter, it is imperative to do your best to strive for perfection with grammar and typos. Use a spell check or other online resource that specialize in this area. Really, there is no excuse to misspell words with today's technology.
If you do not have access to online resources, then get another pair of eyes to take a look. It could be a friend, a mentor, or family member.
2. Providing an overload of Information
While you are writing your cover letter, remember it is important to ensure that you're including as much information about you as possible. At the same time, you want to avoid telling too much about yourself.
Recruiters or hiring managers may scan over your cover letter for a brief moment, and if it is short and concise, then they will get what you want them to get from reading it. If it is longwinded and full of irrelevant information, chances are they will not be impressed or not read it all.
A practical tip is to write a cover letter to completion, then go back and tell yourself you need try to make that same cover letter shorter. Do this a couple times, this will help you identify the important stuff and make that information concise while removing unnecessary information or fluff.
3. Take time between applying to ensure correct employer information
We all have been there. When you are applying to jobs it’s like rapid fire until you get a hit. Do not fall into cover letter mistakes that include sending a cover letter to the wrong employer!
Between sending in applications, resumes or cover letters, double check that the cover letter is addressed properly to the employer you are sending it to. Sounds simple, but people make this mistake! It happens!
4. Don’t be too shy or humble
For most people (not all), highlighting why you are so great is a hard thing. That is okay to feel this way most of the time. Not here. You need to make sure you talk about who you are and why you are a great fit.
When a recruiter or manager is reading through cover letters, they are looking for a cover letter to make someone stand out. “I’m not very good at this, but pretty good” won’t cut it! If you have skills or experience, make sure the person reading it knows about it!
5. Don’t be too grandiose or lie
It is probably really common that people stretch the truth on cover letters. After all, they are trying to stand out amongst other job seekers.
While it was said earlier not to be too shy, its equally important not to be too grandiose on your cover letter.
Most recruiters or hiring managers have an idea of what type of job seekers are right for the job. If you stand out too much, they may think something is not right. Remember, they are experts in this area, they typically have seen many job seeker cover letters ahead of yours. You may get flagged if it seems to good to be true. Worse than that, if they think you are as good as you falsely claim you are, and bring you in for an interview, will you continue to lie then?
If what you are sharing is actually true, then by all means share it! But be careful of stretching things or lying on a cover letter. Keep it simple, state your skills and experience, but do not go overboard here!