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5 Cover Letter Mistakes

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 requirements.

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 by.

Below is a list of errors to avoid when sending a resume to hiring companies:

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 person.

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 consistent.

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.

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Learn how to write and design an amazing cover letter.

Teena Rose operates a prominent and professional resume writing service, Resume to Referral. She’s authored several books, including "20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer" and "Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales."







Learn how to effective
write a resume cover letter

...includes sample pharmaceutical sales resumes

Coming Soon!


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