9 Cover Letter Writing Mistakes That Might be Ruining Your Career


A lot of people searching for jobs make the huge mistake of not attaching a cover letter with the job application and CV. For some employers, not having a cover letter means the CV won’t even be viewed.

A cover letter is essential for finding the job of your dreams. Especially nowadays when companies get dozens of CV’s that will be similar to yours – the cover letter is that thing that can really make the difference. It’s where you can demonstrate your enthusiasm, passion or personality that will make them choose you over the other 10 candidates.

If having the perfect cover letter is your goal, then take a look at these 9 things that you must definitely avoid if you want to be successful and not ruin your career.

1. An Unprofessional Look

Writing a cover letter just for the sake of having it is probably worse than applying without one. Think of the cover letter as a business card that summarises the information in your CV. If it’s sloppy, the font is unprofessional, or you go with unusual colours, everything can go wrong. Pay attention to all those little details.

2. The Use of the Wrong Format

It isn’t called a letter just because it sounds cool. This is an actual letter, so you should make it look like one. All those ancient details that you may have never heard of before, the addressee, date and a return address should all be included. Also, don’t forget to specify the addressee and also the name of the manager of Human Resources, if you have it.

3. Overdoing It

Even though some cool graphical effects, a logo or even a motto might sound like a good idea for your cover letter, keep in mind it should be simple, elegant and follow the format of a letter. You have your CV if you want to get more creative, keep the letter professional.

4. Not Proofreading It Before Sending

After spending time composing the perfect cover letter, you might easily overlook spelling and grammatical errors. Unfortunately, this is often the case for any type of writing because you get so caught-up in the composition process that you miss certain things. This is why it is absolutely vital that you carefully proofread your cover letter.

You can also run your letter through one of the dedicated apps for proofreading. In case you’re not sure what website or app to use, here’s a list of suggested apps:

  • Grammarly – a specialised website and tool that will analyse all aspects regarding the grammar of your text and also identify typos and other mistakes.
  • Hemingway App is used by a lot of writers for strengthening their work and also to look for mistakes that could fly under the radar for the human eye.
  • Ginger – another great tool that can really improve your writing in holistic ways

5. Back up Your Skills

Of course, you will include your skills and the things that make you the best for that specific job in the cover letter. However, don’t even think about adding a skill or ability without providing an example from your past experiences that will back it up. It’s only natural that employers won’t just take your word for the skills, qualification or competences written in the cover letter.

6. Adding Extra Words

When you have your completed cover letter, you may worry that it feels too short. However, if you are 100% sure you included the most important aspects, lose the thought of adding extra words and phrases just to make it look like you have a lot to say about yourself. The person reading the letter won’t have time to read an essay and may prefer to scan over the key points. Just stick to what you think will get you an interview.

7. Reusing the Same Letter Over and Over Again

44% of hiring managers will immediately dismiss a cover letter that looks too much like the CV or seems copy-pasted. If you’re too lazy to compose a different cover letter for each job you apply to, or at least for each domain you’re interested in, perhaps you should just skip the cover letter altogether.

Using a general cover letter that applies to any job will leave a bad impression on your potential employer. It will likely make them think you just don’t care enough to compose a different one.

8. Be Clear

When we’re talking about an online application, you need to double check and make extra sure that everything has your correct full name, and all the info regarding you is correct. Like previous job titles, responsibilities from your former workplace and everything you mention.

You should also explain any pause between jobs and anything else that might make the employer think twice when it comes to your application.

9. Focusing on Yourself Too Much

Yes, a cover letter is mostly about you; what makes you a great fit for that specific jobs and the skills and abilities that will help you deliver the best results while at it. But even so, try not to obsess over the things you have done in the past, no matter how extraordinary or rewarding they were.

Instead, build your cover letter around showing the new potential employer what you are capable of that will benefit them. Of course, past experience is also a big plus when it comes to a new job but living in the past hasn’t helped anyone.

Bringing it all together

These 9 points should guide you on how to write a cover letter. Of course, there’s no clear recipe for success when it comes to cover letters, however, if you stay clear of the “Don’t” parts you should be fine. What are the tips and tricks you use for cover letters?

AUTHOR BIO: Lori Wade is the content writer and a career specialist for college students. She is a content marketer, sharing experience on writing, education, and self-development in her publications, for example, https://eliteessaywriters.com/blog/how-to-write-a-cover-letter/. Connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.


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