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22/03/2013

5 Mistakes that you can easily Avoid Making on Your Cover Letter.

A cover letter is one of the easiest ways to make a job application stand out, but it's also the part of the application that job seekers struggle with most. Cover letters can be crucial because the hiring is about more than the skills and experience on your resume. Other factors matter too—communication skills, intellect, emotional intelligence, motivation, and your personality. And that's where a cover letter can set you apart from the rest of the crowd. But all too often, employers find candidates making these five mistakes when it comes their letters:

1. Simply using the cover letter to summarize your resume. The most common mistake job seekers
make with their cover letter is using it to just summarize their resume. With such limited initial contact, you do yourself a huge disservice if you use a whole page of your application to merely repeat the contents of the other pages. The cover letter should add something new to your candidacy—information that doesn't belong on your resume like personal traits, work habits, and why you're interested in the job.

2. Using an overly sales opening line. Hiring managers groan when they read openers like, "You won't find a candidate better qualified than me" or "I'm the best candidate for the job." These types of statements come across as overly cocky or naive; after all, no matter how strong a candidate you are, you have no idea
what the rest of the candidate pool looks like. Instead, a good letter is simply straightforward and explains why you're a strong match. In other words, show, don't tell.

3. Being overly formal. Job seekers sometimes feel that they should be stiff or formal, but the best cover letters are written in a conversational, engaging tone. Don't be overly casual, obviously—no slang, and things like grammar and spelling really matter. But your tone and the language should be conversational, friendly, and engaging.

4. Not showing a strong personal interest in the job. A compelling letter will make a convincing case that you're truly excited about the opportunity, explaining why (without resorting to generic reasons that you could use when writing to every other company too).

5. Sending the same letter to every job. Hiring managers can tell when they're reading a form letter and when they're reading a letter tailored to this job. If your letter works for all the jobs you're applying to, that's a signal that it needs to be more customized. Form letters aren't a deal breaker, but people who take the time to write a tailored letter explaining why they're a match for this job in particular, and why they're excited about it, really stand out. Employers want candidates who are interested in that particular job, and not any job.

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