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6 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Writing a Cover Letter

If you have been unsuccessful in getting a serious response, or responses, to the resumes you have sent out; perhaps it is time to take a hard look at what you have been sending out. First, please understand that generally you are up against huge odds in mailing or posting a resume to a job opening. Beyond the politics of whether that job posting is actually “open or not,” the sheer number of applicants for any job posting is just a lot.

At a recent job fair held downtown, the local paper reported that some 5,000 people showed up to see what the 135 companies present were offering. Minimally, those are the odds you are facing when applying for a job posting.

But if you are going to apply for that job you saw in the Sunday paper, you should at least do everything that you can do. What you send and who you send it to must be spot on. That said I want to discuss some of the common mistakes in a lot of cover letters that I have seen.

1. The simplest mistake is sending or dropping off just a resume by itself. As the song to “Married with Children” says, a cover letter and resume go together like a horse and carriage.

2. Another common mistake is not addressing it to a live human being. I know of no one that responses well to receiving a “To Whom It May Concern” letter.

3. Many writers mistake a well written letter with a long letter. A cover letter must be one page only, but more important, it must be direct and to the point. It must be easy to read. A lengthy one page letter will bore and distract the reader.

4. Too many people attempt to squeeze their resume into the cover letter by giving far too much information in that introductory letter. Introduce yourself in the lead letter and leave your life’s story to the resume.

5. Too many people write with words that they think the recruiter or hiring manager wants to hear instead of writing what the hiring manager do want to read. Use of flowery words and phrases are not impressive. The hiring manager wants to know why you are writing, what is in it for him, and lastly, what you want in clear English. If the posting states that they are looking for an aggressive sales representative, then write that you are an aggressive sale representative. Do not write that you are a proactive, results-driven, goal-oriented sales professional.

6. Finally, too many letters end with either a wishy-washy request for a call for, or worse, do not have a call to action at all. Without asking for a specific response, you have just wasted your time and the time of the reader.

As you write your next cover letter, consider these common mistakes. Make sure that you write a letter that is direct, in clear English, and asks for action.

By Peter Kim. Write your best and most compelling cover letter with free advice, guidelines, and examples at http://www.LandingOnYourFeet.com. While you’re at it, sign up for the newsletter with free EBooks and resources to help you. Loaded with great articles to help you find a job, this is where to go for commonsense, straight shooting info.