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17/05/2013

4 Mistakes you can easily avoid making on your Cover Letter.

A cover letter is one of the most effective ways to make a job application stand out, but it's also the part of the application that job seekers often ignore the most. Cover letters can be crucial because the hiring is about more than the skills and experience on your CV. Other factors matter too—communication skills, intellect, emotional intelligence, enthusiasm, motivation, drive, and just what kind of a person you are. And that's where a cover letter can separate you from the rest.

But all too often, employers find candidates making these four mistakes when it comes their letters:

1. Simply using the cover letter to summarize your CV. 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 salesy opener. 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. 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 this job, not any job.

In summary; The exact role of the cover letter is still a subject of debate among hiring managers. Stellar work experience, talents, and skills, plus a recommendation from a big name in the industry, could make the cover letter virtually irrelevant. However, in the same vein, a cover letter can act as a tie breaker between two otherwise worthy candidates, and act as the sieve on who needs to get the nod for the next stage of the hiring process- the interview.

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