As a former recruiter and career counselor, I’ve spent a lot of time fixing résumés and cover letters. Over the years, I noticed some patterns when it came to cover letter mistakes—especially among recent grads.
Here are three you’ll want to avoid at all costs.
1. The One-Size-Fits-All Cover Letter
Recruiters and employers can tell if you’ve probably sent the same cover letter to every single job you’re applying for ... and it’s a real turn off!
Just like you customize your résumé for the job, you must do the same for your cover letter. This shows that you paid attention to the job posting. It also shows that you aren’t just sending your cover letter to a bunch of random jobs, which is a major red flag!
2. The Bible-Length Cover Letter
I remember one candidate who faxed over his cover letter and résumé in hopes of getting us to help him find a job. He quickly earned a nickname: “10-Page Résumé Guy.”
Yup, between his three-page cover letter and his seven-page résumé, he had indeed faxed over 10 pages explaining his entire career. Needless to say, it ended up in the garbage can.
Recruiters and employers are very busy people. As such, they probably have just enough time to quickly skim your cover letter in between meetings, phone calls, and deadlines. Your cover letter is like your pitch for enticing someone to open your résumé.
That means you should keep it sweet, simple, and to the point.
3. The “It’s All About Me” Cover Letter
Companies have no bigger pet peeve than candidates who send a cover letter outlining what they want the company to do for them.
Here’s a news flash: Companies don’t care about you or your career dreams. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. They are much more interested in what you can do for their bottom line.
What questions do you guys out there have about cover letters?