Top 5 Common Cover Letter Mistakes
1) Spelling, Punctuation and Grammatical Errors
Time and time again we bang on about the importance of ensuring text is absolutely word perfect, yet still candidates fail to sufficiently proofread their letters. Most people think the CV is the important part but the cover letter carries just as much weight because it effectively encourages the reader to take the time to read your CV and not file it in the dustbin.
Proofread your cover letter, do not rely on your computer’s spell checker. The best way to do this is to physically print it out. First of all, read it normally and then read it back to front. You are more likely to spot errors if you read it back to front. It sounds mad, I know but that 5 minutes of madness could make all the difference when you are trying to make a good first impression.
Submitting a word-perfect CV and cover letter demonstrates you are meticulous and take pride in your work,
2) Addressing the Letter to the Wrong Person
Sending your application to the wrong person is a huge faux pas. Ensure you have the name of the person who will be reviewing the application or the name of the HR manager at the very least. It literally takes a few minutes to call the company, send an email or look online.
Try to avoid the phrase ‘to whom it may concern’. Take the time to show initiative and get a relevant contact name.
3) Addressing Letters to the Wrong Company
This is a common mistake people make when they are sending out multiple applications. Double check you are sending the application to the right company and have the correct name and address at the head of your letter.
Imagine you’re applying to all the major supermarkets for example, don’t address your Sainsbury’s application to Tesco!
4) Failing to Include the Job Title or Advert Reference
5) Copying your CV’s Content
- Introduce yourself and note the position you are applying for
- Highlight your academic skills if you are newly qualified or vast work experience if employed
- Tell them succinctly what you can do and what value you can add
- Mention any key achievements to reinforce your competence in the role or industry
- Outline why you want to work for their company and what inspires you to work for them
- Sign off by asking them to contact you for more information and make reference to an interview invitation
If the above seems daunting, just remember, all that info must be contained to just one A4 page too!
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A carefully constructed and word perfect cover letter can help you to secure an interview but a crappy one will ensure you end up in the bin, having wasted your time and possibly, the cost of a stamp!
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