10 Common Cover Letter Bloopers to Avoid
Having a polished and impressive CV isn’t enough to draw a possible employer’s attention. In fact, your first impression is actually made through your Cover Letter. It is your Cover Letter
that will convince the recruiter whether or not to even read your
CV and consider you for a job.
To make sure that your CV gets the attention it deserves, and
you get the job you want, avoid any of these Cover Letter mistakes…
Blooper #1: Not including a Cover Letter
Omitting a Cover Letter is a bad idea. Not only do you miss out on a great opportunity to promote yourself as the best candidate to a possible employer, but don’t give your CV a fair chance of being considered. A lot of recruiters are pressed for time, and rely on Cover Letters to spot potential talent and as the deciding factor for reading a CV. So just to get spotted and convince a recruiter to take a glance at your CV, write a Cover Letter!
Blooper #2: Sending a Cover Letter as an email attachment
Again, recruiters are busy people receiving many CV’s daily, so they are likely to just brush past applicants that add more to their workload unnecessarily. Make their job easier, and grab their attention instantly by inserting your Cover Letter in the body of your email rather than sending it as an attachment.
Blooper #3: Sending the same Cover Letter for every job
Recruiters are not stupid, they notice this, and can perceive you as a somewhat lazy job seeker (the last thing you want when applying for your dream job). Also, your Cover Letter is an opportunity to market yourself as the right person for a specific job, lining up your skills and experience with what’s required for the job advertised. Sending the same Cover Letter for every job will very likely not make you stand out from the crowd or earn you a call for an interview.
Blooper #4: Not personalising your message
Starting off your Cover Letter with “Dear Sir/Madam”, is only acceptable when the job advertiser didn’t include his or her name in the advert. Always look for a name in the job advert to address your Cover Letter to and grab the recruiter’s attention with, for example “Dear Francois” or “For the attention of: Thembi Mohono”. Also, if possible, avoid using “Mr”, “Mrs” or “Ms” to spare yourself the embarrassment of getting the recruiter’s sex or marital status wrong.
Blooper #5: Writing a novel of a Cover Letter
Recruiters simply don’t have time to sit and read lengthy Cover Letters. They have many to get through, so if yours is telling them your whole life story, they will probably lose interest quickly and move on to doing more important work, or worse, reading another job seeker’s Cover Letter… Make sure you keep your Cover Letter short, to the point and easy to read.
Blooper #6: Writing boring copy that doesn’t grab attention
Read your Cover Letter to a friend or family member… Pay attention to their behaviour. Are they yawning? Staring blankly? Making excuses to leave the room? All jokes aside, make sure your Cover Letter grabs and holds the attention of a recruiter, with “punchy”, colourful copy that will make you look very good and seem like the ultimate person to hire for the job. Pay special attention to your introductory paragraph and closing sentence.
Blooper #7: Not explaining why you are the best candidate for the job
You know that you are the right person for the job, but the recruiter doesn’t. Well, not yet… Give them the reasons why you are the one they’ve been looking for. Use the original job advert to help you with this. Most job adverts include job requirements. Explain in your Cover Letter how you meet each of these requirements and are well able to do the job.
Blooper #8: Trying to be funny
Yes, your Cover Letter copy should be interesting and attention grabbling, but avoid taking this to the extreme. It can backfire. People’s sense of humour differ, and you risk offending or confusing the recruiter by “trying” to be funny in your Cover Letter. Keep it light, yet serious.
Blooper #9: Omitting your contact details
It might sound like such an obvious thing, but many job seekers are so focussed on getting the Cover Letter right, that they forget to include their contact details. Make sure your contact details are clearly visible at the end of your Cover Letter and correct so that a recruiter can contact you immediately after you’ve convinced them that you are the person for the job!
Blooper #10: Not proofreading your Cover Letter
Don’t undo all your hard work in writing the perfect Cover Letter by neglecting to check for typing, spelling or grammar errors after you’re done. These types of errors can reflect negatively on you as a job seeker and jeopardise your chances of being called in for an interview. Make the effort and check and re-check your Cover Letter for any mistakes, and to make doubly sure, get a friend or family member to also proofread it for you.
Now that you know how important your Cover Letter is for being recruited for your dream job, make sure you Login to your Job Seeker account and write a good and attention-grabbing one before applying.
If you enjoyed this post about common cover letter bloopers, feel free to also check out the Job Mail blog for more Useful Tips.