5 Things You Should Never Put in Your Cover Letter
Employers may hear your voice in a cover letter, get a sense of your goals, and discover more about you. Here is guidance on how to create a strong cover letter and how to avoid common errors.
- A job applicant introduces themselves in a cover letter and states their interest in working for the firm.
- A strong cover letter offers hiring managers a better understanding of the candidate.
- If a candidate’s experience satisfies the job criteria in a cover letter, recruiters are more likely to choose them for an interview.
- This post is for job seekers who wish to create standout cover letters.
Your résumé only goes so far when you apply for jobs. Although resumes are primarily fact sheets, they do provide information about your education and experience to potential employers. Candidates have the chance to elaborate on why they would be a good match for a particular position at a particular organization in a cover letter.
With advice from seasoned experts, this article will explain what a cover letter is, why it is necessary, and how to write one.
What not to include in a cover letter
It’s important to pay attention to detail in your cover letter since it might convince a hiring manager that you are the ideal candidate. It might be difficult to write a strong cover letter that effectively communicates your qualifications without coming off as arrogant or cliched.
Company News Daily asked hiring managers and business owners for the worst possible things a candidate might include in their cover letter, in order to assist you avoid the most dangerous cover letter errors. Here are the top five cover letter blunders.
Highlighting any lack of skills
When submitting a job application, it’s simple to feel exposed, particularly if you are aware that you lack some of the necessary expertise. However, it is never a good idea to begin a cover letter by underselling yourself or calling attention to the abilities or information you lack.
According to author and career counsellor Lavie Margolin, “I have read far too many cover letters with the following phrase: Although I do not yet have… ” Why are you stressing something if you don’t have it?
Instead, Margolin urged job applicants to concentrate on their current abilities, experiences, and skills that the prospective employer would find appealing.
“You are in the sales industry if you are seeking for work. Instead than focusing on your shortcomings, your cover letter should try its best to highlight the knowledge, expertise, and qualities that you do possess. In your cover letter, highlighting a flaw might lose you the job.
Lack of attention to detail
Job searchers may fail to pay careful attention to the little things because they are focused on finding the ideal approach to communicate their major ideas. One of the most frequent errors job candidates make in their cover letters is a typo, according to Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of marketing at Beyond.
Your cover letter will have a chance to shine if you thoroughly proofread it. “Your buddy is spell check. Utilize it, but don’t depend on it, said Weinlick. Before sending out your cover letter, print it out, read it from beginning to end, and check for mistakes. Make a good impression on the recruiting manager with your cover letter, since it will be their initial impression of you.
When applying for opportunities with other firms that are comparable to yours, you may repeat sections of your cover letter. The corporate information should be updated for each letter, but neglecting to do so is a serious crime.
According to Chaz Kyser, CEO of Careeranista, “nothing will have your cover letter tossed in the rubbish bin quicker than supplying the erroneous business name.”
Kyser says that while verifying for correctness, you should make sure that the firm name and address are right, that the job for which you are applying is specified, and that you include the hiring manager’s name, if one is known.
Remove any clichés that sound lovely but add little to the text when you are proofreading. Instead of describing your work ethic or experience in general terms, provide concrete instances that show off the traits you want to emphasise.
Bob Kovalsky, vice president of Volt Workforce Solutions, advised against using buzzwords. Descriptives like “detail-oriented,” “hardworking,” “team player,” and “proactive” don’t reveal anything about your experience to HR managers.
Remaining stuck in the past
Perhaps you are searching for new chances since you were fired from your previous position. No matter why you’re looking for a job, don’t concentrate all of the available space in your cover letter on your prior experiences.
According to Kim Kaupe, co-founder of Bright Ideas Only, “the worst thing a prospective employee can do [in a cover letter] is to discuss why they left their present or previous work.” It’s comparable to bringing up your ex at the beginning of a first date. I want to learn about your present and future, as well as how you intend to contribute to my business, rather than your history.
It’s crucial to stay away from the past if you had a tense connection with a previous job. According to Tracy Russell, talent acquisition coordinator at Intuit, saying you’re searching for a new job because your prior company was unjust or your supervisor was inept would only make you appear terrible. “Frequently, if there is this kind of unfavourable material in the cover letter
Talking about money too soon
During the employment process, there are appropriate times and places to bring up money, but your cover letter is not one of them. If there is a discrepancy between what is advertised or suggested in the job post you are replying to, Lisa Benson, president and CEO of Mary Kraft HR, recommends avoiding include any unsolicited compensation information in the cover letter unless you are expressly requested to. Nobody who is simply interested in making money wants to work for a potential employer.
Making it all about you
Another typical error that candidates make is bragging about their abilities in their cover letter without explaining how they will utilise them to help a potential employer.
According to Ian Yates, co-founder of the candidate sourcing platform Fitzii, “the worst thing an applicant can do in their cover letter is make it all about themselves and what they’re looking for.” Focusing on why a candidate will be a wonderful match, how they will contribute, and what they have done or will do to assist [the company] is the best course of action.
The managing partner of Talentfoot Executive Search & Staffing, Sue Hardek, said, “There is a delicate line between confident and arrogant. She advised against “overselling oneself, or being arrogant about successes and talents” for any candidate. Additionally, applicants should refrain from oversharing their personal histories, embellishing, or giving misleading information.
Job seekers have a far greater chance of striking the correct tone with their cover letters if they do their homework, including investigating the firm, knowing about industry trends, and finding specific ways they can solve difficulties faced by the organisation.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter serves as your potential employer’s initial introduction to you as a person. While your CV will describe your prior job experience and qualifications, your cover letter is a chance to introduce yourself to potential employers personally. Employers get a large number of applications, many of which have histories and experiences that are comparable. Their skill pool may be reduced with a cover letter.
While a cover letter may be requested in certain job postings, it may also be optional. Applicants should always take the time to prepare a cover letter to highlight their professional experience and communicate their interest in the organisation. The standard style for cover letters is three paragraphs, and they shouldn’t be more than 300 words.
The benefits of a cover letter
You may be tempted to omit this step as not all job application procedures need for a cover letter. But a cover letter offers you a number of significant benefits.
It personalizes your application.
Even well-written resumes don’t provide candidates a chance to demonstrate their writing prowess. Candidates may market themselves more effectively by showcasing their personality in the cover letter. Recruiters get a feel of the candidate’s character in addition to their job history and credentials. They may also talk about aspects of their past that might not be included directly on a resume but are nevertheless important to the position they’re going for.
It showcases your interest in the position and/or company.
Many job seekers submit applications without thinking, placing more emphasis on number than quality. They’ll either send a generic cover letter or choose not to send one at all in order to be as effective as possible. You may demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and are particularly interested in working for the firm you’re applying to by include specifics in your cover letter about why you’d be a perfect match for the position. Candidates who invested the time to learn about the organisation and really desire to work there as opposed to just seeking employment will be noticed by employers.
It demonstrates your hard work.
Employers can tell you are self-motivated and enthusiastic about the job you’re looking for if you take the time to compose a well-researched cover letter. Your ability to work diligently and adhere to instructions is shown by your ability to do research, write, and submit error-free text before the deadline.
How to write a good cover letter
For a single job posting, hiring managers can get hundreds of cover letters and resumes. Only a few seconds are given to potential workers to create a strong first impression, and a dull cover letter may put them right in the “no” pile.
Employers may hear your voice in a cover letter, get a sense of your goals, and discover more about you. A strong cover letter should explain why your abilities and personality are a match for the organisation to the hiring manager.
To draught a cover letter that will get you an interview, pay attention to these eight advice from recruiting professionals:
Be who you are.
Not sounding generic is something you should avoid. Describe your characteristics and how you could fit within the firm to the recruiting supervisors.
According to Margaret Freel, a former corporate recruiter at TechSmith Corp., “one major thing we look at is if they’ve combined pieces of their personality into instances of how they would excel in this role.”
One method of personalising your letter, according to Freel, is to include experiences that make you qualified for that specific post. Candidates should be succinct and self-aware enough to understand how their record of accomplishments sets them apart and be able to connect it to the post.
Do your homework and make it your own.
Your cover letter should be customised for each job and business, much like your CV. Use industry-specific terminology and include references to information from the job description and business website in your cover letter rather than using a template-style format.
Investigate the company, identify the recruiting manager, and address the cover letter to them. Even if it’s not always feasible, addressing the recruiting manager by name makes you stand out. Use a general greeting as a last option if you’re not sure who the recruiting manager is.
According to Alina Cincan, managing director and co-founder of Inbox Translation, “Address the cover letter to a particular individual inside the organisation, not the broad – and much-hated – ‘dear sir or madam’.” This demonstrates that the applicant has done some study and is really interested in working for that particular business, not just any business.
Mentioning your motivation for joining that specific business in your cover letter, according to Christa Shapiro, a former managing director at the hiring agency Kforce, is one thing that always grabs the reader’s attention. Employers don’t want to recruit someone who won’t care about their job, so demonstrate your enthusiasm for the company and the sector.
If after reading the first sentence hiring managers lose interest, they won’t continue reading your cover letter. According to Kyser, a compelling introduction could emphasise experiences, years of work, or a particular point from the job description.
In her words to Business News Daily, “having anything more than ‘I am applying for the job and such and such’ in your opening paragraph is crucial. Hiring managers sometimes pay even less attention to cover letters than they do resumes.
Include a short anecdote in your cover letter that ties you to the company’s goal and/or product as another approach to make it stand out. Kenneth Johnson, president of East Coast Executives, said: “This activity will without a doubt distinguish you from the bulk of other applicants.”
Include the name of the individual who brought you to the hiring manager in your cover letter whether that person was a member of the staff at the firm or a contact in the same sector (with their permission).
Referrals are a great way for candidates to stand out, according to Bill Peppler, COO of the employment company Kavaliro. The cover letter is an excellent chance to incorporate the name of someone who can vouch for your talents, however they should always get permission before doing so.
- Address any possible resume issues.
A strong cover letter goes beyond just outlining your qualifications for the position. Additionally, it allows you to address aspects of your resume that would otherwise raise questions.
Diane Domeyer Kock, senior vice president and managing director at Robert Half, advised job candidates to address any concerns that would cause a hiring manager to hesitate, such as employment gaps.
- Avoid just restating your resume.
The former executive director of the career development centre for business graduate students at Rollins College, Jane Trnka, said that although your cover letter should include references to information from your CV, it shouldn’t be a straightforward recitation. If further detail is required, explain your stated experiences in more detail in the cover letter.
According to Trnka, who works for Business News Daily, “Craft the letter to recognise the needs of the position and culture of the firm, while showcasing the abilities and experiences that correspond with the job description.”
- Fact-check and proofread.
It’s crucial to proofread and double-check your cover letter for any grammatical or factual problems, just as you would with any other part of your job application. Even the tiniest error might give the recipient of your message a negative first impression.
Guryan Tighe, leadership coach and creator of Fourage, stressed that any faults of any type should raise serious red flags. “This is your one chance to make an impression on [the recruiting manager] and demonstrate your qualifications. It’s usually a no-go if there are errors in spelling, grammar, or format.
- Make it succinct.
Hiring managers often get a large number of applications and are quite busy. Keeping your cover letter brief and to the point will increase the likelihood that it will be read, which is always a good thing. It will also make the hiring manager’s work simpler.
The finest cover letters, according to Chris Wood, president of Paige Technologies, “may [be] brief, courteous, and straightforward.” “The greatest cover letters go straight to the point of why we are the best match for them and why they are the best fit for us,” says one expert.