8 Cover Letter Writing Mistakes That Might Be Ruining Your Career

The following is a guest post by Gloria Kopp.  Her bio follows the videos.

Most employers will ask you for a cover letter, but it won’t mean much if your letter isn’t engaging or interesting. A great cover letter will set you apart from other candidates, and you can achieve this by taking heed of these eight tips. These are common mistakes that people make when writing their cover letter, and eight ways you can avoid doing the same.

Mistake #1: Implying More Experience Than You have

Even in a cover letter, you might be tempted to exaggerate your experience. You should never lie on your cover letter. Implying you have more experience than you do have will do you no good in the long run. In the age of social media, it is only too easy to find these things out.

TIP: When talking about your experience, be honest and embellish what you do know.

Mistake #2: Being Too Personal

There is commonly an excess of information in cover letters, and it can become too personal for the human resources manager. Turn offs include personal life such as marriage or divorce, religion, age, and other topics that are naturally off-limits.

TIP: Do not speak on personal relationships, age, religion, or other off-limit topics. Focus on the job at hand.

Mistake #3: Underselling Yourself

One of the worst things that applicants commonly do is deliberately undersell themselves. Your cover letter is the perfect place to sell your positive qualities and enthusiasm. Using self-defeating phrases such as ‘You probably have other clients to review’ and others share an air of being unconfident in your ability. You cannot stand out. Be assertive, honest and enthusiastic from the very first sentence.

TIP: Remain confident in your ability as a potential employee.

Mistake #4: Focusing Too Much on Yourself

A cover letter is much more than what you can do or have done in the past. The company wants to know what you can do for them, and how your set of skills will benefit them.

TIP: Make your achievements known in a context that lends well to the duties of the position to which you are applying.

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Mistake #5: Sharing Irrelevant Experience

While job experience is crucial to many positions that you may be applying for, oversharing can be a turnoff – especially in a cover letter! Don’t confuse your potential new employer – share some experiences in your cover letter, and allude to positions that are relevant to the work you are applying for.

TIP: Make sure to tailor your cover letter to only the most relevant experience and skills.

Mistake #6: Writing A Novel

For some hiring managers, nothing is worse than a long, novel-like cover letter. If she becomes tired reading through it, it has become too much.

TIP: At one-half page or less, keep your cover letter concise.

Mistake #7: Not Customizing

Writing the wrong company name or position is the fastest way to get your cover letter thrown out. Write, and read, your cover letter careful to make sure that it is specifically catered to the position that you are applying for.

TIP: Customize it: include the right company name, position, and the correct spelling of the hiring manager as well.

Mistake #8: Not Proofreading or Editing

A few harmless typos can cost you your dream job. As the top mistake that most cover letter job applicants make, you need to do more than use a spell check.

TIP: Use an online editing tool – or three – to check and check again to ensure that your cover letter truly stands out.

Useful Cover Letter Editing Tools

There are several great online resources for job seekers to edit their cover letters. For example, the Hemingway app helps to make your writing concise and clear. It points out long, complex sentences for editing and helps to strengthen them. Ginger Software and PaperFellows are grammar checkers that help you to avoid common, embarrassing mistakes in your writing. Correcting spelling, grammatical mistakes, and misused words, it is as accurate as a human editor.

PolishMyWriting is an online application that corrects spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, style mistakes, and misused words in your writing. Accuracy is key to writing the perfect cover letter. Ukwritings and Essaroo provide a great community of writers and editors who are experts in their field. With some writers being at the Ph.D. level, both websites are great resources if you are stuck and in need of motivation and inspiration in your writing.

Write well and edit often – a strong editing tool will not create the perfect cover letter, but practice certainly will.

About Gloria Kopp.

“Gloria Kopp is a digital marketer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of a business writer and an educator, now she works as a tutor at Assignment writing service. Besides, she is a regular contributor to such websites as Engadget, Boomessays, Huffingtonpost etc.”

Want a mini-course in writing great cover letters that get results?   Check out these videos!  Click the arrow to start.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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