A few months ago I wrote a post titled “How to Write the Best Cover Letter.” I wanted to write a follow-up piece about what to make sure to NOT include, which you may have possibly overlooked. According to Natalie Severt, “In 2016, 1 in 6 candidates who applied for a job were asked for an interview.” If you want to get your foot in the door and actually interview for your dream job, you’re going to need an A+ cover letter. Here are 5 things to avoid in your cover letter:
1. Don’t make it too long
Instead make it shorter rather than longer and definitely don’t write more than a page. Cameron Chapman suggests, “A good rule of thumb is to make sure your reader won’t have to scroll (much) to read your whole email.” Many potential employers may be reading your cover letter on their phone, so make it easier, not harder, for them!
2. Don’t forget to take the initiative
Instead of ending your cover letter generically, make an impression on your potential employer. Max Lytvyn writes, “Weak closing messages like, ‘Thank you for your time, or ‘I hope to talk with you soon,’ give the hiring manager a choice: To call you back, or not to call you back. Asking for an interview creates the impetus for the hiring manager to at least call back in response to your application.” End your cover letter with requesting for an interview, and you’re more likely to get a call.
3. Don’t make your cover letter generic
One easy way to make cover letter less generic is to use the name of the hiring manager. Alison Doyle says to make sure you don’t write the wrong name of the contact because “[t]his is a tip off that you are mass producing your documents and may lack attention to detail. Nobody likes it when they are called by the wrong name.”
Don’t know the name of the hiring manager? Call the business directly and ask. It will look like you are taking the initiative, and companies like that. By addressing your letter to someone who actually works at the company, you go from making it generic to specific.
4. Don’t bring up money
Only mention salary if specifically asked to do so. Paula Fernandes explains, “There is a time and place to discuss salary during the hiring process, but your cover letter isn’t it.” You don’t want to convey to your prospective employer that you’re only in it for the money.
5. Don’t make it just about you
Rather than just bragging about yourself, your cover letter should be also about your potential employer, not just you. Peter Vogt argues that “you need to tell the employer about yourself, but do so in the context of the employer’s needs and the specified job requirements.” When writing your cover letter, refer back to the job posting and make sure that you’re addressing the qualifications necessary for the job you’re applying.
Let’s get started on making the best cover letter for your next job! You ready? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll give you a quote today (or ASAP).