Are you making these cover letter mistakes?
Nowadays, with LinkedIn and email, you may consider that a cover letter is a thing of the past but it is still relevant for several situations. Too often good candidates, like you, are making cover letter mistakes that can mean you get screened out of the process before you even get to interview!
For example, if you are making a pro-active approach to your dream employer, you definitely want to include a compelling cover letter. Otherwise, your CV is simply going to get filed or binned. You want the recipient to TAKE ACTION and invite you to interview!
Many job adverts do still ask for a covering letter as well so don’t get caught out and find yourself having to cobble something together at the last minute. It’s not going to be the best it can be, is it?
3 mistakes to avoid making in your cover letter
OK, so you accept that you need to write a cover letter? Good. Now let’s make sure that you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons by ensuring that you avoid these really common mistakes.
1. writing too much or too little
The first of the cover letter mistakes you can avoid is writing too much or too little. For me, one side of A4 is plenty of space to write a really compelling cover letter. Any longer and the employer/ recruiter/interviewer is not going to read it properly. They may scan it over and decide that you’re taking up way too much of their time already! Remember, they are busy people and have a lot to deal with. Make your points succinctly and your application is going to be more attractive.
On the other hand, a cover letter that says little more than, “I’d like to apply for this vacancy, please see my CV attached.” just comes across as lazy and a waste of time!
2. Describing your life history
The second of my 3 cover letter mistakes you can avoid is describing your life history. Your future employer is not interested in everything you have done since you left school! They are interested in what you can do for them now.
Identify their main pain point or the biggest problem they have that you can solve and you’ve got their attention. Show them how you have dealt with this kind of situation in your previous/current role and they are beginning to get excited about meeting you!
3. Not creating a call to action at the end of your cover letter
The third of my 3 cover letter mistakes is forgetting to create a call to action at the end of your letter. Many cover letters tail off with a weak ending. This is not the best way to make a lasting impression.
The key is to make it clear that you want to meet the employer. If it’s a speculative application, your call to action could be to invite the hiring manager out for a coffee. If you’re responding to an advert, let them know that you’re looking forward to meeting them at interview soon!
So, now you know which mistakes to avoid when writing your next cover letter, I wish you every success! For further guidance on a specific opportunity, you are welcome to get in touch for tailored advice. The best way to do this is to click the Cover Letter Tutorial button below.
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Copyright: Louise Jenner, 2020.
This post was published originally in 2017 and has been updated for the new decade.