A cover letter does more than just show off your experience and skills. It’s also an opportunity to show a future employer that you know how to market yourself and that you are up to date on the most current industry news. It’s especially important to show off your portfolio and grab the reader’s attention. Avoid these five common mistakes when writing your cover letter.
1. Writing A Generic Cover Letter
Apart from having glaring grammar mistakes and typos (so obvious they didn’t even make the list), sending a generic cover letter is the biggest offense you can make in your job search. It says to the company “I don’t really care about this position. I just want a job.” Tailor your cover letter to each position. Include relevant company information or news stories, and say a few things about why you’d be a great fit for the organization.
2. Having Zero Personality
It makes sense that you want to focus on your qualifications and how you helped a company reduce their bounce rate by optimizing their website algorithms. But if your entire cover letter reads that way, your resume will be thrown in the recycling. Do something to show off your personality and make them want to meet you.
3. Using the Wrong Keywords
The HR manager will likely be the first person to see your resume. If you can’t capture her interest, you will never meet the hiring manager. To achieve this, make sure you use the right keywords or “buzz words.” You can often find these words in the job description. If you would normally say that you have “marketing skills,” but the job description calls for “sales skills,” then write the former on your cover letter.
4. Not Linking To Your Portfolio
Employers no longer read printed cover letters. They receive them by email. Use this fact to your advantage! Instead of just talking about your achievements, add links that will take the reader directly to them. You could also link to a LinkedIn or GitHub profile. Not only will this show the employer that you have an impressive portfolio, but it will also show them that you are up to date on digital marketing practices.
5. Waiting Around for a Call
How often have you ended a cover letter with the sentence, “I look forward to hearing from you soon”? If you do this, you are leaving your future career in someone else’s hands. Instead, end your cover letter with “I will contact you soon for an interview. If you have any questions, you can reach me at xxx-xxxx.”
If you need more assistance writing your cover letter, you can use the following websites.
10 Words and Phrases to Avoid: Pretty self-explanatory, this list contains 10 words and phrases that are horribly overused in cover letters. You should avoid them in your writing.
EssayMama.com: The professional writers at Essay Mama can write a cover letter tailored to your background and the job requirements.
Hemingway Editor: Hemingway Editor will review your cover letter and point out any sentences that are very difficult to read so you can replace them with simpler alternatives.
Upwork.com: If you’d like to hire a freelance writer to write or edit your cover letter, you can get in contact with thousands of freelancers on Upwork.
You know you have a lot to offer a company. You know your skills, talents, and background. It is your job to convey all of these things to a potential employer. You only get one chance to capture the employer’s attention with your cover letter. So, stop making these common mistakes, and dazzle your next boss with your killer cover letter!
This is a guest contributor post by Kenneth Waldman. He is a freelance writer and content creator. Get in touch with him on Linkedin.