A resume takes you from today backwards, while a cover letter takes you from today forwards. Both documents are crucial in marketing yourself to a career influencer and securing attention for an interview.
Here are the top three cover letter mistakes to avoid:
Dear Sir or Madam
As critical a mistake as it was in 2014, addressing your cover letter this way will fail to make an impression and will decrease your chances of being called for an interview.
Always include the hiring authority’s name and title, ensuring they are spelled correctly of course. If you are replying to an advert, conduct some due diligence using LinkedIn and other research platforms to uncover the name of the hiring official.
A cover letter is not a tweet or text message
While brevity is important, and your cover letter should never exceed one page, it also shouldn’t be too short. Aim for four or five paragraphs, written in an authoritative manner. You need to deliver the most compelling and resonating statement on why you should be recruited.
If you are replying to an advert, be sure to match your hard and soft skills to the text written in the job notice. This simple step can get your phone to ring sooner.
Copy, paste, fail
Another mistake I see often, and it’s so easy to rectify, is copying and pasting text from your resume to the cover letter. The English language is so wonderfully varied, why not use it to its fullest?
Take the time to rewrite the verbiage from your resume and still keep the same meaning and impact. Tell the company what you can and will do for them, and support this with the reworded details from your resume.
Be sensitive to your cover letter’s audience as well. Don’t copy a cover letter meant to build a relationship with a recruiter to answer an advert on a job board or newspaper. These are two distinct documents.
A timeless truth
One mistake that never goes away is failing to proofread, proofread, proofread. Spelling, grammar or punctuation errors can also cost you dearly in the job search process.
If 2015 has you in career transition, avoid these cover letter mistakes that will sink your search.
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