Your cover letter may be free of spelling and grammatical errors – but it could still be riddled with faux pas that serve as an instant turn off. Make your first impression a remarkable one by avoiding these top five cover letter mistakes provided by Thrivas, a leader among staffing companies and temp agencies in Jacksonville, FL.
Making it too long
If you’re droning on for more than half a page, it’s time to cut down on your wordiness. Forbes recommends three paragraphs as the ideal length. Monster.com stresses the first 150 words are the most crucial. Use your first paragraph as your elevator pitch and the following paragraphs to back it up. Hook the reader, sell your abilities, explain what you can do for the company, and you’re done.
Repeating what your resume already says
Your resume gives the gritty details on your background, experience and other qualities. You’re also sending it along with your cover letter, yes? That means there’s no need to repeat the same information. Instead use the space to showcase your personality and interest in your desired industry.
Starting off with the obvious
Here you can fall prey to a massive taboo, which is kicking off your letter with: “My name is Jane Doe and I’m applying for the blahblah job.” The reader already knows this, and this opening screams of inexperience.
Addressing it to the wrong person
If you’re not able to find the precise name of the person who should receive your letter, Forbes says to skip the salutation altogether and dive right into the letter body. Steer clear of the generic “Dear HR Manager” or the even worse “To Whom It May Concern.” Also make sure you know the gender of the recipient if you plan to use Mr., Ms. or Miss in your salutation. Chris, Pat and a host of other names could be either male or female.
Sending it in non-universal format
PDF is the way to go. The vast majority of computers can open and read it, it retains your formatting and the content can’t be edited or changed. The body of your email can simply state your cover letter and resume are attached.
One more tip is to close with a strong yet brief statement. Explain how your experience would greatly contribute to your performance on the job, and how you look forward to hearing from them soon.