A cover letter can make or break any job seeker’s success with landing a new assignment. When done well, a cover letter intrigues the hiring manager to want to learn more. When done poorly, the cover letter turns the hiring manager off and the resume goes into the garbage can.

How can you know if your cover letter makes the grade? Find out by evaluating it against our cover letter mistake checklist.

1 – Your cover letter is not written on a resume-matching template.

A big part of looking professional today is having a personal brand. When designing a cover letter, make sure it’s coordinated with your resume. Use the same font and a cover letter template. Avoid adding any flourishes, pictures, or other “fluff” that will just distract from its point.

2 – Your cover letter doesn’t have a powerful opening statement.

A cover letter is meant to grab the attention of the recruiter with a great opening statement that gets to the point quickly. If your cover letter starts with a weak statement, it won’t have this result. Instead, work on something that will impress the recruiter in 10 seconds.

3 – Your cover letter has no compelling reason to consider you for the company.

In order to prompt the recruiter to bring you in for a job interview, your cover letter needs a short, bulleted list of the top three reasons the company may want to hire you. If this is missing, then what’s the point, really? Look over the job description, then come up with these elements to give your cover letter a punch.

4 – Your cover letter forgot to close with a call-to-action.

The cover letter mistake you made may be that it just rambles on and on, with no clear ending in sight. Wrap up the cover letter with a statement asking the recruiter to call you about setting up an interview. It can be as simple as saying,” Thank you for your consideration and I may be reached Monday through Thursday from 9am to 5 pm to schedule an interview.”

5 – Your cover letter doesn’t list contact information.

Cover letters and resumes sometimes get lost in an inbox or through an online applicant tracking system. Make sure to include your name, address, email, and a good phone number where you may be reached.

Watch out for these cover letter mistakes, and be sure to grammar and spellcheck yours before sending it out to hiring companies.


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