You have found a few advertisements for potential jobs and have created a great resume. The next step is creating a cover letter that will capture the attention of the hiring manager. While cover letters are not difficult to write, there are some common mistakes that people make while writing them. Here are eight ways to avoid cover letter mistakes.
1. Casual greeting
Remember, when you are writing your cover letter you need to be formal. This is not your buddy or you mother you are writing to; this is a possible employer. Starting out with “Hey,” will get your cover letter and resume thrown out immediately. If you know the hiring manager personally you can start with Dear and add his or her first name.
If you are not familiar with the hiring director, starting with Dear Mr./Ms and the last name is appropriate. With a bit of research you should be able to find out the hiring director’s name, however that is not always possible. If that is the case, you can start the letter with “To whom it may concern,” and go from there. Again no “Hey dude,” or “What’s up?” should ever appear on a cover letter.
2. Too many pages
Your cover letter should be one page long. That is is. No more, no less. One page. Period. If it is any longer the hiring manager will bypass your cover letter and resume for the next one on the pile.
3. Resume review
You have a resume along with your cover letter. The hiring manager will be capable of reading your resume. What might irritate the hiring manager is to find out that you have just repeated your resume in your cover letter. Instead use your cover letter to focus on things you could not put into your resume.
Tell the company why you want to work for them using examples from their web page. The hiring manager is looking for someone who will fit the position they are advertising. Explain how you will fit that position.
4. Over the top
While you should explain why you would be a great fit in their company, do not swoon over their company. It will make you look like you are trying too hard. They know you are interested in their company because you are applying for a job with them.
Do not go on forever telling them how great they are. They already know what a great company they are. Going too far is a waste of both your time and the hiring manager’s time.
For some jobs you will be required to put certain things in your cover letter. Be sure to look over the advertisement a couple of times so that you can shape your cover letter the way your future employer wants it to be. If you do not include something they have asked for in your cover letter they will simply move on to the next one and discard yours.
Do not put too much personal information in your cover letter. You can let them know you have volunteered but they do not need to know about the dog pens you have cleaned out and how you helped a pregnant dog give birth. The hiring manager will just want to know that you are a well rounded person.
How many dogs you have walked for the shelter may be impressive to your family and friends, but the hiring manager does not want to hear specific details.
7. Social media
If you mention your social media pages or your personal webpage as ways to contact you be sure your social media sites are cleaned up. Hiring managers will use social media sites and personal webpages to determine if you are a good fit for their company.
If you are applying to a more conservative company you might want to take down the pictures of your high school and college parties. Clean up your pages so only the best parts of you shine online.
Researching the company you are applying for is critical. One mistake people make is not taking the time to get to know the company or what they stand for. Your can use keywords throughout your cover letter to get the hiring manager's attention.
You will find these keywords on the company website. Use these keywords and other things you find to help you write a cover letter that will get the hiring manager’s attention and give you a foot in the door.