The Recruitrite experts know what makes a cover letter stand out, and the cliches to avoid. Whether you’re writing a cover letter for the first time or feel you need to scratch up your technique, we’ve gathered all the mishaps that you shouldn’t include. From formatting your letter to injecting personality, there is lots to think about!
We know how important it is to get it right, the first time, which is why we’ve compiled a guide of everything you should avoid, so you can get that interview you want. Our insider’s Rite Covering Letter resource talks you through all the nitty-gritty details, but this blog is intended for anybody who wants to know specifically what NOT to include. Ready?
Placing All The Focus On Yourself
Though the overall aim of a cover letter is an opportunity to talk about yourself, you shouldn’t talk about yourself too much. You will be rightfully eager to write anything about yourself that sets you apart from the other candidates – but don’t overdo it!
Remember that the company you are applying to work for is looking for an employee to fulfill a role. This means they will really want to know what you can do for the company and the skills you’ll bring. While it’s tempting to chat about how you speak 3 languages (go you) it may not be relevant to the job.
Talk about how you will fill the role and make sure your achievements match up to the role. This will score you extra points with the reader and instantly make you an attractive candidate.
Sharing Your Struggles
If you have had interview experience, you will already know that old common question – “tell us about a challenge you faced and how you overcame it”. There is definitely a purpose behind this question, however, we advise you not to share anything that could be understood as negative in your cover letter.
Your cover letter shouldn’t be used to tell your potential boss about any troubles you’ve faced. Instead, we recommend focusing on the positives and the present moment. While you may have been fired or quit a job, don’t include this information in your letter. If you do include this type of information, the reader may see it as simply listing insecurities. You want to look confident and sure of yourself, right?
Detailing Every Past Job Experience
Don’t confuse the reader by sharing details about every job you’ve ever had. Instead, focus on using one example of where you’ve used the skills needed for the role you’re applying for. Be sure to structure your cover letter so that it covers all of the skills asked for.
You may have a long list of skills that you’re proud of – that’s great. But, find a place and a time to talk about them where they aren’t relevant in a cover letter.
Rambling, rambling, rambling…
Less is certainly more in the case of a cover letter. Keep the letter short and sweet with an easy to read structure and you’re halfway to that interview you want. You don’t want the hiring manager to get their hands on your letter and feel sleepy part way through, do you?
Keep to around 4-5 paragraphs maximum and use short sentences to ensure it’s concise. Generally, a cover letter should be kept to half a page of A4 or less for full engagement. Wait until the interview stage to talk about yourself more…
Recycling Your CV
No, your cover letter is not your CV 2.0. Don’t simply repeat sentences that are in your CV, we notice when reading! If you have already been prequalified, a hiring manager wants that extra bit of confidence in you via your cover letter.
Include things that haven’t been covered in your CV or elaborate further upon points. Don’t simply recycle the words or even worse, sentences, that have been used in your CV.
Using Cliches (Please Stop!)
Sentences such as ‘I’m the top candidate for this job’ make us cringe. Avoid the cliches please, and it will do you favours. There is nothing wrong with being confident but be mindful of your language and what you are writing. Depending on how you describe yourself, it may come across as too arrogant or like a textbook typical descriptor. Neither are good.
Instead, talk about what you can bring to the role and tie in all your relevant experience. That way you will look sure of yourself and will be actively demonstrating why you’re a good fit.
Loving The Company A Little Too Much
So, you’re a big fan of the company you’re applying to work for – GREAT! However, don’t risk being too enthusiastic about the company in an over the top way. You can still flatter the company but we recommend talking about how you’ll help them in the role.
Sometimes, when you overdo it by talking too much about the company it can seem you don’t care about the job role. If your dream is simply to work for the company in any job role, maybe rethink applying.
Not Cleaning Up Your Grammar
Perhaps you’re writing your cover letter with such enthusiasm that you misspell a few words. We understand the excitement but be sure to spell check and correct grammar before finalising your submission. Many hiring managers will completely discredit a cover letter if typos are present.
Be sure to triple check the content of your cover letter for any typos before it’s too late. Install a programme like Grammarly to give you a hand with this task, spelling needn’t be a chore.
Your Next Steps To Writing A Cover Letter
Have you come to the end of this read and are full of confidence in writing your ‘Rite’ cover letter? With our suggestions above you are already on the way to composing a cover letter that will bag you the interview you want.
But before you start typing, remember to download our handy step by step resource on writing a cover letter too! With your unique skills and our expertise, that job you can’t stop talking about is almost in your hands. Want more useful blogs and resources to help you along your recruitment journey? Subscribe to our newsletter.