Your cover letter is your potential employer’s first insight into you. That’s why you need to make absolutely certain that what you’re portraying on paper is nothing less than impressive. Careers24 has put together a list of things to avoid including in your cover letter. If you’re on the hunt for a new job, or if you’re just entering the job market, use this list as a guide when writing your cover letter and you won’t go wrong.
1. Cover letters count
Firstly, cover letters are not optional; they matter a lot. Think about it, this is your only chance to impress your potential employer without seeing them face to face. Use this opportunity to sell yourself – make your potential employer see that you’re passionate about the job and hungry to succeed. Simply including a resume is not enough. The cover letter is where you entice the hiring manager and make them understand that you are the perfect person for the job. The letter serves as a selling tool and a summary of your resume, without it,you run the risk of getting ignored.
2. Overselling – don’t do it
Your cover letter reveals a lot about your personality. Try not to oversell yourself as it may come across as arrogance – which is no one’s favourite trait, regardless of how experienced or talented you are. If you’re naturally arrogant, try to tone it down – the person reading your cover letter must want to meet you and work with you every day.
3. Choose your positions wisely
If you’re fresh out of university, chances are that you won’t get hired as a manager or a senior staff member, for that reason applying for these positions is not the smartest thing to do. Don’t waste your time on applying for positions that you know you won’t get, you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure. Rather focus on jobs that are in your league and then customise your cover letter accordingly.
4. Grammar matters
Take time to craft your cover letter. After you’ve written it, read it a few times to check for spelling and grammar. A badly written cover letter and resume will never get you an interview. Read, craft and read again.
5. Ensure your job matches your letter
While there’s nothing wrong with applying for more than one job, you could get ignored for the position if you don’t customise your cover letter each time. Many people tend to reuse their cover letter without bothering to check whether the skills listed matches the new job they are applying for. Golden rule of the day: don’t rush your cover letter.