Despite what you may have recently heard or read, a strong cover letter is important to your successful job search. Cover letters are not always required, but they can be the factor that sets you apart from other candidates.
A cover letter can be the best place to let your personality come through and show how you would be a good cultural fit for a position. In some cases, if a company is looking for a way to narrow the field toward a final hiring decision, they turn to applicants’ cover letters. So, make yours the best it can be.
Mistakes to Avoid
An effective cover letter proves your skills as a communicator and helps ensure your resume gets read, versus tossed in the trash. Avoid these cover letter mistakes:
- Typos, spelling or grammatical errors: As reported by Forbes, 49 percent of hiring managers will immediately reject a cover letter with spelling errors. This implies you are either lazy, don’t care enough about the job to take the application process seriously or you simply don’t know how to spell. In addition to spell checking, read your cover letter out loud, check every word and sentence yourself, and then have a trusted friend or advisor do the same.
- Generic templates: Forty-eight percent of employers will throw out a cover letter that’s not customized. Make every effort to address your letter to a specific person, using their name and title. Mention the job you are applying for in your opening sentence. Carefully consider the traits of the ideal candidate, using information from the job description or posting. Explain how your unique qualifications would enable you to excel in the role.
- TMI: A lengthy cover letter increases the likelihood a reviewer will skip it all together. Seventy percent of employers prefer a cover letter that is a half-page or less. So instead of including detailed information on every position you’ve held, ask yourself what experience you have that is relevant to the position. Tailor your cover letter to those skills and successes.
- Lack of enthusiasm: Never leave a hiring manager with any doubt about your passion and enthusiasm for the job. Make sure the employer knows you are highly motivated to pursue the opportunity.
- Dishonesty: It should go without saying, but a surprising number of candidates lie or embellish information on their cover letters and resumes. Never do this. Prospective employers will find out – and your reputation could be permanently marred as a result.
- Listing references: You need references, but list them on a separate document. Putting them in your cover letter is inappropriate and a waste of space.
The career development experts at PrideStaff Modesto can partner with you to make your resume, cover letter and all other tools and aspects of your job search a success. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.