Cover Letters can be tricky business. Not many are a fan of cover letters yet there are many who would debate over their importance. While there are many hiring managers who don’t even bother to read a cover letter, there are equally many who would not even consider your candidature if you fail to attach a cover letter along with your job application. Since there is no way to figure out which category of hiring manager you are dealing with, it is better to assume that you are required to furnish a cover letter along with the resume. Instead of considering it a pain, think of it as an opportunity to market you skills and sell your qualifications to the prospective employers. Also, if you can ace the art of writing the perfect cover letter, then there is no hiring manager who, whether in favor of a cover letter or not, wouldn’t be impressed by you.
Call it ignorance or sheer laziness, but not many people understand how to go about writing a cover letter and end up making grave mistakes that are irreplaceable. So, if you are not getting any interview calls, don’t be surprised. Instead check where you are going wrong. Most probably, it’s the cover letter where you are going wrong. To make things easy for you, we have listed some of the most common mistakes that people don’t even realize they are making in their cover letters. Have a look:
Not sending a cover letter:
Like we said earlier also, since no one can predict whether the hiring manager one is dealing with really cares about cover letters or not, it is safe to send a cover letter. If you don’t send the cover letter your candidature automatically becomes less attractive to the hiring managers who really care about the cover letter. He / She would definitely consider those candidates who have spent a whole lot of time and effort in drafting a cover letter. So, always send a cover letter until and unless you are told otherwise by the hiring manager.
A standard format:
The worst mistake one can make is to use a standard cover letter for every job that he / she is interested in. It is better to not send a cover letter at all rather than sending a standard one. Hiring managers can easily figure out that you have sent the cover letter just for the heck of it. A cover letter should be customized according to the job and the role that you are applying for. Highlight the things from your experience that are most relevant to the position you are applying for. This will maximize your chances of getting shortlisted for the interview.
A cover letter too lengthy:
While it is important that you highlight what makes you the perfect fit for the job, what is equally important is not to go on writing pages about it. Nobody has the time to read so much about just one candidate when there are so many more out there to be considered. So, it is better that you keep it short and to the point.
A cover letter that talks all about you:
You must be thinking what else a cover letter should be about if not about you. Well, it should and should not be all about you at the same time. When you have to sell your skills it all depends on how you do it. You can play with words to make a point. Rather than using a language stating a number of skills you possess, write it in a manner that connects the skills required by the role you are applying for with your own experience.
Adding irrelevant information:
As stated previously, a cover letter should not be lengthy but it should be full of substance. Most people commit the grave mistake of explaining their reason for looking for a new job or leaving their previous job. Never do that until you are asked to. Also, do not use the cover letter as an outlet to talk ill about your current/ previous employer. It gives a negative image to the hiring manager and to be frank, they don’t really care about your reasons. All they care about is what you can bring to the table.
Bring up the salary:
By all means, do not bring up the topic of salary until and unless you are asked to state your current CTC. As a prospective employee, all your energies should be focused towards getting noticed for your experience and skills and get called for an interview. Once you get there, you will get ample opportunities to first understand the role better. Once both you and the hiring manager are convinced, the salary can be discussed.
Faking or providing wrong information:
Many people lie about their experience and skills. This will only land you in trouble later on. If you do possess the skills required for a particular role, either don’t apply for such a role or work on acquiring those skills. But don’t commit the mistake of faking about it or lie to the hiring manager. Even if you get shortlisted, you won’t be able to lie about it during the interview. And once you get caught, the hiring manager can blacklist you from the database permanently.
Full of typos and grammatical errors:
Addressing the hiring manager with an incorrect name or spelling somebody’s name incorrectly is one of the rudest things not just for a hiring manager but also for people in general. Make sure you address the cover letter to the correct person and double check the spellings and look for grammatical mistakes. Use a spell check but don’t rely on it completely. Take a print out of the cover letter and proof read over and over again before sending it to the hiring manager.
While hiring managers do look for specific skills and experience in a candidate, they also want to hire people with personality. Your cover letter is your chance to show them your personality. It can help you stand out and is also your first step towards landing a job. So don’t just throw away the opportunity. Instead, grab it!
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