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So, which do you want first – the good news or the bad news?
The good news is that you understand the importance of the cover letter. If you’re a decent writer, this article will help you write letters that will get job interviews.
If the thought of writing a letter makes you sweat, however, this article will still help. But, first things first.
The bad news…
The bad news is that the competition for jobs is at the highest level in decades. Most hiring managers get hundreds of applications for every job they post. Ironically, this news isn’t all that bad.
Of the hundreds of applications hiring managers receive, the vast majority include letters filled with bad grammar, typos, and uninteresting content. Many are REALLY bad, and make the hiring manager cringe, or worse, laugh. Obviously, these applications get thrown in the “No, Thank You” pile.
So, how do you avoid the “No, Thank You” pile and get job interviews? Avoiding the top three letter mistakes is definitely the place to begin!
Cover Letter Mistake #1
The worst mistake is to send a mass mailing to “Dear Hiring Manager.” Instead, find out who will read applications for the position you’re applying for and address your letter to that person. Personalize the letter’s content… write a different letter for each job showing you’ve done your research and really believe you’re the best match for the position.
Cover Letter Mistake #2
The second mistake is to rewrite your resume in your letter. Cover letters and resumes are not the same! Resumes are factual. Letters are personality. Think of your letter as your thirty-second “elevator” pitch. If you had thirty seconds of the hiring manager’s time, what would you say? That’s your cover letter!
Cover Letter Mistake #3
The third mistake is a big one. Not taking the time to proof your letter is ridiculous; it’s your first impression. Would you go to an interview with a big stain on your shirt? Of course not. At the very least, run spelling and grammar-checking functions in your word processing program. Ideally, ask someone else to read your letter. Is it clear? Does it represent you? If you don’t have anyone to ask, read your letter aloud. Slowly. Word-for-word. Put your letter away for a day or two. Reread before sending. You’d be surprised how different your letter looks when you look at it with fresh eyes.
If you’re looking to get job interviews, avoiding the top three letter mistakes is definitely the place to begin.
Best of luck with your job search!
write by Christopher Warfel