March 22, 2021

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What Not to Include on Your Cover Letter | Career Thoughts

3 min read

An Insider’s Guide to What NOT to Include in Your Cover Letter

Crafting the perfect resume is only the first stage of applying for a job. The real challenge comes when creating a personalized cover letter to accompany and back up your application. While cover letter writing is time consuming, it is an essential part of a job application; however it is often a task that leaves even most proficient job seekers well and truly stumped!

There are so many articles littering the internet telling you what to include, all with varying opinions on how cover letters should be written, but what about the don’ts? We explore the faux pas of cover letter writing so you can become one step closer to securing your dream job!

Don’t Forget the Basics

In the haste of writing your cover letter and getting your application in as soon as possible, many job seekers forget the basics such as spelling, grammar and punctuation. Read your cover letter and accompanying resume carefully a number of times before submitting your application to ensure it is free from the typos that put employers off. We recommend writing your cover letter and coming back to proof it in a few hours’ time, looking at it with fresh eyes will ensure those errors stand out and can be corrected to strengthen your overall application.

Stumped with your resume? See our resume tips

Don’t Include Inaccurate Information

Accuracy is key when it comes to writing a great cover letter, especially when you are referring to the organization you wish to work for. A huge part of your cover letter should be a section describing why you want to work for this company in particular and including specific details about the company will certainly gain you some brownie points to put you ahead of other applicants. However, when researching the company ensure you exercise another skill sort after by employers, attention to detail, and never include information that is wrong.

The same applies when it comes to including information about yourself and your achievements. Don’t leave any room for you to be caught out on details you have exaggerated or fabricated altogether, these will become all too apparent in an interview situation!

Don’t Use a Template

While it may be easier to draft up a basic cover letter and doctor a few details, a template cover letter stands out like a sore thumb with employers. Aim to personalize your cover letter as much as possible if you do wish to use a basic template, or start afresh every time to ensure you make it as focused on the job you are applying for as you can. Always look at the job description and make it your objective to demonstrate that you are capable of providing everything that they have asked for.

Writing a new cover letter every time will also ensure you have the chance to change things that may not have necessarily secured you an interview in your previous applications.

Don’t be Negative

The tone of your cover letter is also important when making the right impression on paper. Always write positively when describing your skills, achievements and experience. Even if you have limited or no experience in the industry you wish to secure a job in, maintain this positive tone by demonstrating your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Do Keep it Simple

Try not to be too creative with your language while conquering your cover letter, and avoid gimmicks at all costs. As well as tying your cover letter into the job description they provide, ensure you pinpoint how you will make a contribution to the company. Keep it simple and aim to satisfy their needs as an employer before your own wants.

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