Cover Letter (Part 2): It's never too early to make a bad impression !!!!!

A cover letter or introductory email is often the first thing a potential employer sees when reviewing a job applicant. It's the first opportunity to impress recruiters and hiring managers and, therefore, the first opportunity to disappoint them. Everything from copy mistakes to inappropriate jokes in a cover letter could derail an application.

Here are the Top 5 worst things to put in a Cover Letter

1. Next to Nothing 

While writing something that's too long is a common cover letter mistake, what can be even more damaging is a cover letter that's too short. Here is an example of a cover letter that I received few months back for an entry level Customer Service Representative role: 

"Here's my CV. Call me [Phone Number]"

2. Awkward Language

While I agree that all languages evolve, we shouldn't allow all the rules and correct spelling to go out the window. Laziness should not be the reason our language evolves. Here is an example of an opening sentence of a cover letter that I came across:

"i m keen on applin on d positon advert on"

3. Application Forms

You've stumbled across a fantastic job opportunity but there's a form to fill in before the company will even consider meeting you. It's few pages long, the questions are dauntingly open and the blank spaces are staring at you.

The so called smarties start copy pasting their CVs and Cover Letters in these gaps and if that isn't enough, here is an example of an answer to a question asked by one of the New Zealand's largest retailer.

Question: Why do you want to work with us?
Answer: cuz I am the best. 

 Ok, there is nothing wrong with being confident, but your answer needs to demonstrate you have the right skills, character and experience for the job.

4. Someone Else's Words

Recruiters hate to see similar looking cover letters from different candidates. The so called smart ones can be easily identified because of their "Googling Skills". They all end up downloading the same cover letter templates.

Some recruiters also warn against the tired stand-by opening lines in a cover letter. "Enclosed please find my CV highlighting my experience and skills that would help your company to grow and succeed"

Try using something catchy & more specific like, 

"Here are the 5 reasons why you should interview me!!" or 

"If your company could benefit from the expertise of a CISCO certified Network Engineer with a flawless record of success at Level 1 & 2 IT support, please take a moment to review the attached CV." or 

"I've been following your company's progress in the last year and in February I noticed your company was mentioned in the Journal of such and such..."

Don't forget the amazing power of internet!!! You can spend 15 minutes online and look like you've been following them for a year.

5. Wrong Company Name / Wrong Cover Letter

Talk about mistakes that are easy to avoid.

The biggest mistake I see on a regular basis is that candidates either misspell the name of the company or get the name wrong. But the big, unforgivable mistake is when someone copies and pastes a cover letter without the name or address to the correct company. That, to me, is someone who's lazy and not paying attention.

Sometimes it's hard to tell if a cover letter was meant for a particular job, even if the candidate got the company name and position right, especially when the same cover letter is being used for every job application.

Remember, writing a good cover letter is a critical aspect of getting you closer to your dream job.

Raj Singh
Employment Consultant 


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