Even though the cover letter does not carry nearly as much weight as the resume, you should still put your best foot forward in this document. After all, first impressions are lasting impressions.
There are many ways to approach the cover letter, but there are also some wrong ways. Some things on a cover letter will quickly send your cover letter and resume to the do not call pile.
Here are some no-nos:
1) Although I don’t have…. Beginning a cover letter with talking about any requirements that you don’t have is a non-starter. Talk about what you do have, not what you don’t have.
2) Generic phrases that don’t speak to the employer’s needs. Many job seekers speak vaguely about their ability to contribute to an organization, but they don’t crisply and succinctly demonstrate on paper that they meet those requirements.
3) Grammatical errors. Obviously, grammatical errors make a bad first impression. Even one grammatical error can be the death knell of your application to a company.
4) To whom it may concern. Starting off with to whom it may concern is more than just impersonal. It gives the impression that you are not writing to anyone in particular. It’s always best to get the name of the person who has handling the opening, but if that is not possible to obtain, at least use a gender neutral title like recruiter or hiring manager.
5) I’m a hard worker. Everyone makes this claim, which is why it means nothing. Instead you should point to specific accomplishments that directly relate to the type of position that you are applying for. That will illustrate that you are a hard worker instead of making an empty claim that is not substantiated.
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