Your cover letter is the first thing employers see when they open your materials. Avoid these 10 mistakes, and make your first impression a good and lasting one.
Mistake #1: Overusing "I"
Your cover letter is not your autobiography. The focus should be on how you meet an employer's needs, not on your life story. Avoid the perception of being self-centered by minimizing your use of the word "I," especially at the beginning of your sentences.
Mistake #2: Using a Weak Opening
When writing a cover letter, job seekers frequently struggle with how to begin. This often results in a feeble introduction lacking punch and failing to grab the reader's interest. Consider this example:
- Weak:Please consider me for your sales representative opening.
- Better:Your need for a top-performing sales representative is an excellent match to my three-year history as a #1-ranked, multimillion-dollar producer.
Mistake #3: Omitting Your Top Selling Points
A cover letter is a sales letter that sells you as a candidate. Just like the resume, it should be compelling and give the main reasons you should be called for an interview. Winning cover letter tips include emphasizing your top accomplishments or creating subheadings culled from the job posting. For example:
Your Ad Specifies: Communication skills
I Offer:Five years of public speaking experience and an extensive background in executive-level report.
Your Ad Specifies: The need for a strong computer background.
I Offer:Proficiency in all MS Office applications with additional expertise in Web site development and design.
Mistake #4: Making It Too Long
If your cover letter exceeds one page, you may be putting readers to sleep. A great cover letter is concise but compelling, and respects the reader's time.
Mistake #5: Repeating Your Resume Word for Word
Your cover letter shouldn't regurgitate what's on your resume. Reword your cover letter statements to avoid dulling your resume's impact. Consider using the letter to tell a brief story, such as "My Toughest Sale" or "My Biggest Technical Challenge."