The 5 Common Cover Letter Mistakes
With every CV submission, you should have a cover letter that accompanies it and presents you as a positive and qualified candidate for the job.
A cover letter should highlight areas of your CV which promote your professional experience, and should address any questions an employer may have about hiring you for the job. There are five common cover letter mistakes outlined below that you must avoid in order to get through the first round of CV review and move one step closer to getting the job that you want.
Addressing the cover letter using a generic greeting, or misspelling the name of the personal contact or the company.
The address line is the most prominent part of the cover letter; it should be included even if the cover letter is sent via email. Generic greetings are not favored; they make it seem like you have a template for your cover letter and you simply send it to all employers you are interested in working for. Do the research and find out who the appropriate contact is for the cover letter.
However, make sure that they name and the company name is spelled correctly. If your address line contains errors, your cover letter is likely to never make it to the hiring manager. Asking the employer to call you at their convenience.
The most generic closing statements in cover letters ask the employer to contact you at their convenience. If you are truly excited about the opportunity with the employer, you won’t want to wait for them to call you back whenever they feel like it.
What you should do instead is let them know when you want to follow up – and then do follow up. Close your cover letter by letting your potential employer know that you will contact them, as well as the manner in which you will do so.
This shows your interest, and your take-charge attitude. Telling the company what they can do for your career. Simply stated, employers care about your qualifications and what you can do for the company. Do not spend your time telling the company how working for them can be great for your career. While that could be true, it certainly is not what the employers want to hear. Your potential employers want to hear how you can benefit their team; they want to know what you can bring to the table that is innovative, and focused on results.
Make sure that your CV lets your employer know just why you are the best candidate for the job. You re-state your CV. Do not go over the information that is in your CV in your cover letter. Your cover letter is meant to entice, and provoke the employer to review your CV in great detail.
Re-stating the information in your CV doesn’t address what the employers want to know, which concerns reasons why you are the best candidate for the job. Highlight certain areas of your CV but do so in the context of your career goals and how such qualifications benefit the company.
Starting every sentence with “I”. While your cover letter is about you, starting each sentence this way will make your employer believe that your communication skills are not up to the level of your professional background. Discuss your qualifications, your goals and what you bring to the table in terms of the company, and your professional attributes.
HOW TO JUSTIFY GAPS IN YOUR WORK HISTORY
Listing your professional experiences on your CV is a difficult task. There are so many elements to consider: job titles, time frames, key responsibilities, transferable skills, etc.
The process becomes even more difficult if you have gaps in your work history. Your potential employer will not have a way of knowing why there is a three and a half year gap in your professional experience just by reviewing your CV, for example.
The employer may wonder if you skipped over one of the jobs you held because it doesn’t meet your career objective, or they may assume that you didn’t work at all during the time frame that is unaccounted for on your CV. Any gaps in your employment history will need to be explained in writing; thus, don’t skip any information on purpose.
There are a few general rules about CV gaps: Any unaccounted time that is shorter than three months doesn’t need to be explained.
Having 60-90 days in between jobs is not too unusual, and often goes unnoticed within a CV. However, any gaps extending beyond three months should be addressed in your cover letter or e-mail. Whether you had personal or professional reasons for not working, the gaps in your employment history need to be explained as you don’t want to leave the employer to make their own assumptions.
We can’t stress this matter enough. If you are honest with your potential employer, you will not have to worry about them checking your references, doing a background check, or surprising you with questions in an interview.
Don’t exclude months of your employment from the job listing. You are better off explaining the gaps in your CV than trying to cover them up. Honesty is really the best polic