A WEAK COVER LETTER CAN LAND YOUR RESUME IN THE “REJECTED” PILE
As a job seeker, you might want to hit the submit button for a job application after perfecting your resume, but you still have some work to do if an employer has requested a cover letter! Writing a cover letter can take just as much time as updating your resume, and cover letters offer the perfect opportunity to further explain your interest in a position and potential fit with the organization.
While there are two common types of cover letters (broadcast and targeted), if you really make an effort, both can show genuine interest in the position, employer, industry, and more. Remember, the cover letter should support your candidacy, not distract from it. If your cover letter does not demonstrate your understanding of your audience (the employer and their organization) and specify your unique ability to fill the position, it may come across as generic, or insincere. Therefore, it is very important that the cover letters you write are tailored to the job and company. It’s extremely easy for an employer or recruiter to spot a generic cover letter. Here are some common mistakes to avoid that are hints to an employer that you did not put much thought, energy, or time into your cover letter:
- The letter doesn’t mention anything specific about the employer and their organization – an effective cover letter would connect personal qualifications to the employer’s needs.
- The letter goes on about qualifications that do not match the requirements of the job posting – this tells employers that you aren’t tailoring the cover letter to the requirements of the job.
- The letter is addressed to the wrong person or organization – a sure sign that this job seeker has been carelessly sending their cover letter for multiple positions and can’t keep them straight.
- The letter isn’t addressed to a specific person – most job postings provide contact information for whom to send the application or job seekers can call the organization to inquire about it! Check the organization’s website for a staff directory and address it to top leadership – it will look better, show you did some research, and be less generic than “to whom it may concern”.
- The letter includes too many common phrases – employers might think you pulled a sample from the Internet and just plugged in your information which doesn’t show much effort on your part. Be cautious about making statements or phrases of your abilities without providing evidence in your writing.
- The length of the letter – a generic/template cover letter is often very short and provides limited details about why you are applying, whereas a particularly long cover letter is one that an applicant has created to meet the needs of all types of employers across various industries. Both as examples of a cover letter that has not been crafted with uniqueness in mind, but rather, cutting corners to save time!
Before you hit the submit button, think about the first impression it will send to that specific employer or recruiter. Strategic candidates will leverage their cover letter to demonstrate worth ethic and level of commitment through the job application – it could make or break your chances for an interview!