5 cover letter mistakes that can cost you your job

Drafting a cover letter? Avoid these 5 common mistakes that can ruin your chances of getting hired

Well, they very much are and moreover, you rather send a cover letter along with your resume because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

It’s true that job seekers tend to give more importance to resumes than cover letters without understanding that both these documents serve different purposes and are equally essential.

While resumes are a formal account of your work experience, educational background, skills and accomplishments, cover letters give the recruiter a peek into your personality. You must use this space to express why you are fit for the role and explain why the job interests you.
In order to catch the recruiter’s attention, you need to tell your story in a compelling manner and if you aren’t too confident of your writing skills, it is a good idea to check this writing service to get help.

Drafting a cover letter? Avoid these 5 common mistakes that can ruin your chances of getting hired –

1. Being Too Generic

If you think you can have a cover letter template and do a cut-copy-paste job every time you apply for a new role, you are mistaken. Recruiters receive hundreds of cover letters in a day and they exactly how to spot those run-of-the-mill templates.

Go the extra mile – do your research about the role and company and customize the cover letter accordingly. Highlight your skills and experience and elaborate on what you can bring to the table. Nobody wants to read the stale, generic cover letters that give no insight into your personality. So, stay away from those templates and use this precious space wisely.

2. Replicating your Resume

A lot of people don’t understand what to write in their cover letter and they inevitably end up replicating their entire resume. However, reading the same content in both places can be rather frustrating for the recruiter.

Remember – the cover letter needs to complement your resume. It needs to offer something fresh and unique while justifying the resume. For instance, if you are making a career transition, you might want to elaborate on it and highlight the reasons in the cover letter.

3. Sharing Unnecessary Information

It’s important to know what and how much to share in cover letters. No one has the time to read lengthy paragraphs filled with irrelevant information such as how you balanced your college and part-time job or extremely personal details.

Before drafting the letter, narrow down on 2-3 important pointers you want to highlight and elaborate on them instead of boring the reader with chunks of text. Always keep your cover letters to 3 – 5 paragraphs and keep the writing crisp. Write about the activities or skills that can enhance your chances of being hired and will make you stand out – the rest of the details can be ignored.

4. Overselling Yourself

There is a difference between mentioning your achievements and over-selling yourself. The latter denotes arrogance and does not make for a great first impression at all.

So, be humble and state your achievements while substantiating them with facts and concrete examples and acknowledge team work wherever necessary instead of harping about yourself.

5. Making Grammatical Errors

Nothing is more disappointing than reading cover letters and resumes filled with typos, spelling and grammatical errors. Don’t be lazy and always proofread the cover letter before hitting ‘send’.

It is also a good idea to sleep over it and proofread it the next day or get a second set of eyes to review it for you. You can read it out aloud and go through each and every word to spot errors. The last thing you want is to not get hired because of a cover letter full of mistakes.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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