We start this off with a big advice: Don’t ever submit a generic sounding or rushed cover letter when applying for a job. That one gets to land straight to the “no” pile or trash pile. And whatever you do, don’t ever make these 6 costly mistakes when doing your cover letter.
Not submitting any cover letter at all
Unfortunately, over 50 percent of applicants think that cover letters are unnecessary today and that the strength of their resume will suffice. Many even think cover letters to be old fashioned. Unfortunately for them, more than 50 percent of hiring managers carefully read cover letters while some 40 percent casually read them. In short, not having a cover letter is a death sentence for your application. Even if a company requests you to e-mail them your resume, always include a cover letter.
Using a generic template
Sending a generic looking and sounding cover letter is just as bad as not sending one. If you use a generic template with the exact same cover letter content for all your job applications and just change out the company name and use “The Human Resources Manager” instead of a full name with position, you’re efforts are just doomed. In this day and age of the modern computer and the internet, it shouldn’t be hard to customize. You need to customize to highlight the details and make you stand out from the rest. And speaking of generic…
Using a generic rank and position
If you do this you send out the message that you didn’t do your homework about the company you applied for. Don’t ever send a cover letter using “The Human Resources Manager” or other such generic ranking. In the greetings you then have a choice of either using the recruiter’s name (Dear Mr. Smith) or using the old fashioned but very formal “Dear Sir” or “Dear Madam.” Take note of “Madam” because you don’t use “Dear Madame” or Dear Ma’am.”
No call to action
That’s like reading a novel with no climax. You always need to end a cover letter by creating an enthusiastic-sounding call to action like thanking the employer, letting them know that you’ll follow up after a week, and encouraging them to call you any time for a job interview.
A cover letter that’s too long
Remember that you’re also submitting your resume so no need to detail up your cover letter. Think of your cover letter as the sales proposal and the resume as the product details. All you need is to highlight your skills. Hiring managers usually only take 10 to 20 seconds to skim over a cover letter. If the letter looks like a rehash of your work history, it faces going to the trash bin.
The cover letter is YOU
It can sometimes be beneficial to heap praises on the company you’re applying to, but you don’t need to overdo it. Hiring managers don’t care about what you think about their company. They want to know about you and you alone. They want to understand what makes you tick and to see if you fit into the company.