Because hiring managers often glance at your cover letter before moving on to your resume, the cover letter forms one of the most important aspects of your job application. A great resume and an excellent demeanor in an interview won’t mean anything if an employer decides you’re not very interested in their company or a poor communicator after reading your letter. So watch out for the following common cover letter mistakes.
– Unprofessional formatting. Make sure your cover letter looks like it’s supposed to, with contact information for the recipient as well as for you. It should read like a business letter, not an e-mail.
– Lack of personalization. Your cover letter should be customized for each job application you make. Find out whom to address it to, even if that means making a quick call to the company’s main telephone line to ask.
– Errors. Errors of fact and typos can quickly scuttle an otherwise-promising letter. Watch out for misspellings of contact and company information, and always double-check that no information about the last job you applied to snuck through into your latest cover letter. Also look for errors in grammar, and consider asking a friend with proofreading skills to go over your letter.
– Focusing too much on yourself and not enough on the company. Your cover letter needs to strike a balance between describing you and your accomplishments and explaining how they suit the company. You want to come across as excited about the position you’re applying for, not excited about how great you are.
– Writing too much or too little. You need to get your cover down to one page in length. Employers have very little time to spend on each job application, and if they glance at your cover letter and see that it will take them too long to read, they may not even bother with it. On the other hand, if your letter is only a couple of short paragraphs, it won’t be able to do its job.