Five Cover Letter Mistakes
by Teena Rose of Résumé to Referral http://www.resumebycprw.com
To ensure you're always using a cover letter
properly, let's review its intended purpose. A cover letter primarily
connects your resume to an open position.
To understand the importance of such a connection, you only need to put
yourself in the position of a hiring manager for a day. Hiring managers,
recruiters, HR personnel and others within the hiring realm, see several
dozen - or potentially a hundred or thousand - resumes per day. How
receptive would you be at matching resumes up with the positions open
within your company?
What's great is that a cover letter need not only spell out how you're a
perfect fit for the position, but can also address salary issues,
employment gaps, and any other qualification discrepancies, along with
willingness to travel, availability for interviews, and provide a
catalog list on how your career history matches the company's
Use a cover letter about 95% of the time. The only exception is when the
resume is hand-delivered to a hiring manager or when a phone or
in-person discussion resulted in agreement to have the resume dropped
Below is a list of errors to avoid when sending a resume to hiring
SLOPPY COPY: MARGINS, FONT, PICA, AND WRITTEN MATERIAL. The first
impression given to any hiring agent is based on the overall appearance
of your cover letter because it's the first item seen before proceeding
onto the resume. If a cover letter arrives on that person's desk without
consistent margins, font, pica, and without effective writing, your
document has the potential of being “dead in the water” before the
reader even thinks of turning the page.
LISTING UNRELATED SKILLS OR QUALIFICATIONS is probably the most common
mistake candidates make. A highly skilled and educated person is wise to
mention significant achievements that pertain to his or her current
position or title. Listing irrelevant information in the cover letter
can actually leave a negative impression; so revolve every sentence in
your letter around the company's needs and expectations of you.
NO CONTACT NAME LISTED. By not listing a contact name, this shows lack
of detail, not to mention, allowing the document to float around the
office rather than sitting on the desk of the hiring agent. What if no
contact information is available?
Make a phone call to the company, or ask someone in your network for a
contact name. Anytime you can add a personal salutation to your
correspondence, you increase your chances of it being seen by the right
INCORRECT OR INCOMPLETE ADDRESS. Double-check everything - even if you
pulled the address from the phone book, a classified ad, or the company
website. Check two different locations to verify that the address you're
listing is 100% accurate and complete.
IMPROPER BUSINESS FORMAT. The lack of proper business format is another
common mistake. Use acceptable business format margins (.75” to 1.0”
left and right) and knowing when to indent and double space. To add an
additional amount of flair to your letter, utilize the same font,
margins, and header as with your resume.
When viewed as an entire package, it will look very professional and
By following these simple dos and don'ts, the art of creating a cover
letter should become somewhat painless. One last word of caution,
however. Before sending any document, ensure to proofread, proofread,
and proofread! A person can never be too careful when the fate of a
great job is on the line.
Teena Rose operates a prominent and
professional resume writing service, Resume to Referral.
She’s authored several career
books, including "20-Minute
Cover Letter Fixer"
to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book"
and "Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales."
Teena Rose, CPRW, CEIP, CCM
Resume to Referral
7211 Taylorsville Road, Office 208
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Phone: (937) 236-1360
Fax: (937) 236-1351