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Optimize Your Cover Letter: How To Avoid Major Cover Letter Mistakes

Resume writing can be a drag. Putting together a job application and agonising over every single word is time-consuming enough - so do you really need to write a cover letter as well? 

Nobody reads them anyway, right?!

WRONG! 

A COVER LETTER IS YOUR CHANCE TO STAND OUT – MAKE IT COUNT!

 

I mean sure, if cover letters aren’t executed properly (generic, boring, talking up your mad Microsoft Word skills) no recruiter will take a second look at them. But a cover letter done right is extremely πŸ’₯POWERFULπŸ’₯  and adds immense value to your application. 

⁠I've seen managers, hesitating between two neck-in-neck candidates for a role, ask to re-read their cover letters. It's a document summarizing your fit and hunger for the role, and it can make a BIG difference. ⁠Don’t waste this opportunity, use it as your secret weapon to secure that highly desired job interview.

 So how do you know if you're making mistakes in your cover letter? 

Check out this video or continue reading below. β¬‡οΈ β¬‡οΈ β¬‡οΈ

 

Let’s look at some classic cover letter mistakes you should NEVER make:

🚫 1. MESSING UP THE FORMAT

You need to get the basics right. A well-structured layout using a modern cover letter format is an absolute must if you want to be considered for the job.

  • Don’t go crazy with different fonts (styles and sizes). Recruiters care more about readability than your talent as a hobby graphic designer.

 

  • Make sure your cover letter isn’t too long. Focus on narrowing down the key messages you want to share (1 page max, ¾ of a page is ideal).

 

  • Keep an eye on the length of your sentences. Every sentence should have a purpose and some energy behind it. I recommend reading it out loud to notice what works and what needs further adjustment.

 

  • The ideal font sizes are 10.5 and 11.

 

  • Avoid super long block paragraphs without bullet points or headers to break up big junks of text.

 

🚫 2. “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”

YAWN. Is anyone still doing this? 

 

  • Please don’t start your cover letter with non-specific and impersonal phrases. “Dear Sir or Madam”, "To Whom It May Concern", I“Dear Sir/Madam” Nope. Nobody wants to read that.

 

  • Always address an actual name (do your research – find the person on LinkedIn, call the recruiter, etc.), otherwise just write “Dear Hiring TEAM” (not manager).

  

  • Who says cover letters can’t sound authentic and human? Once you have finished writing, read it out loud and then swap out phrases you wouldn’t use in real life.

 

🚫 3. NOT NAILING THE HOOK 

The biggest cover letter mistake out there is to not put all your effort into nailing the opening.

As a long-time admirer of [Company Name], I was excited to see your opening for a [Job Title], as seen on the [enter name of job board]. As a [Job Title] professional with over [number] years of experience, I am confident I have the qualifications required to become a beneficial member of your team.

WHAT’S WRONG HERE?

  • This hook is so generic, the person could be applying anywhere, in any industry at any level. It’s designed so you can just sub out the company name with every subsequent application and, quite honestly, Recruiters and Hiring Managers can smell the laziness from a mile away. ☝🏻

 

  • Another weak spot: You don’t connect the dots between who you are, what you can do and what the company needs. A high-quality cover letter should only contain specific examples and accomplishments related to this role, not all of them. 

 

  • Be careful of jumping into your achievements, using clichés: Out of the box thinker, uniquely qualified, detail-oriented, people person – you just start sounding like everyone else. 3/10 of people claim they are uniquely qualified so don’t just be another one on that list.

 

You need to connect your readers instantly by making them feel SPECIAL.

Show them that you’re already on the same team, that your personal story or values are so incredibly aligned to the company and that you can absolutely jump right in and solve their biggest problem for them. βœ”️

 

Want some best practice examples?

Grab this little πŸŽ FREEBIE πŸŽ along the way.

 

🚫 4. REHASHING YOUR RESUME

There is a reason why your resume and your cover letter are two different documents, so don't repeat yourself too often.

  • Do the work for them and make the link to the requirements of the job description.

 

  • You don’t have to meet all the requirements when you post but your cover letter can help you close the gap and explain your fit. πŸ’­

 

  • If you don't fit the observable traits, use your cover letter to tell the hiring manager how you would be a great fit for their team, the company, and an active part of their culture. 

 

🚫 5. BEING A CREEPY FAN OF THE COMPANY

It's great if you admire the company you want to work with, but don't be over the top. It can make you appear needy and desperate and that's not what you want.

  • Don’t waste your cover letter talking about how much you love the company in an extreme way. Use your cover letter to tell the company how you’ll SERVE them.

 

It makes a HUGE difference having a cover letter that looks and sounds genuine with your unique twist to it, instead of boring and generic. I hope you feel empowered to take action and master your own job search with these tips and tricks. βœŒπŸΌβœŒπŸΌβœŒπŸΌ

 

Wanna learn even more? Hop onto my Youtube Channel to binge my other videos about creating successful cover letters, follow me on the gram πŸ“²  and download my FREE ebook about how to nail the hook.

 

Stay badass,

Rosie x

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