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What NOT to Include in Your Cover Letter



Spelling and grammar mistakes

This should be obvious, I know. But really, please re-read your letter don’t just count on Microsoft spell check and proof your grammar for you. There are many mixed up homophones and cognates, abused apostrophes, and careless typos that can slip in. Like brushing your hair and teeth before leaving the house, your cover letter should be properly proofed to ensure it’s ready to go out.

Incorrect title for the position you are applying for

Job seekers often use a cover letter they have previously written and then re-edit it when applying to a new position. This is ill-advised as it can be quite risky if all the variables are not updated correctly, such as the title of the job you are after. If you can’t take the time to make sure the letter targets the position you want, do you think you are conveying true desire for the position?

Addressing the letter to the wrong person

This is a sure-fire way to go in the circular file. Whether such an error results from re-using a template that you used last week, or whether you failed to read the instructions for applying, what kind of impression will you make on the hiring manager if you address your communication to the wrong person? What does that say about the quality of your work or your attention to detail?

Clichés / Generic appeals

Do not use a boiler plate: it will sound like a boiler plate. Unless this is a job for another cog in the wheel (in which case you are on the wrong blog) you want to make a personal connection so … make a joke, convey a relevant anecdote, mention mutual connections, find a way to differentiate yourself from the masses by bringing your personality into the letter.


“Take a look at my resume and get back to me if you’re interested.” This doesn’t wow anyone. Make sure your letter doesn’t read like you are simply satisfying an unemployment requirement of applying to jobs for the sake of applying to jobs. This is our first opportunity to convey your enthusiasm and keen interest in the company and position; don’t let it be your last.

Repeat of your resume

A cover letter serves as a marketing piece and an opportunity to express yourself personally. Highlighting specific accomplishments that are included on your resume is fine, but choose the most relevant accomplishments to the position and don’t copy and paste it in. Tell a compelling story and put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes, make sure you use those lines wisely to recount what is relevant and compelling to the hiring manager.


#coverletter #circularfile #jobsearch #career


See Also “What to Include in Your Cover Letter

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