Your cover letter can be the final aspect of your application that helps employers decided that they want to see more of you via an interview or that you’re not right for the company. If you’re not getting many interviews, you might be making some serious cover letter mistakes!
Your cover letter isn’t helping you if…
#1 You bore them to death with your opening paragraph. Many people tend to use standard opening paragraphs that employers see on every other cover letter. “I am apply for the position of ___ as found in the ___,__ edition of _______. I believe my experience as a ____ will make me an excellent candidate for the job.” B-O-R-I-N-G!!!! Sure, this is pretty normal. It’s also boring. Instead, get the attention of the person reading your cover letter. Make them believe that you are not just another applicant. Make them thing you are THE applicant that deserves the job – or at least a little bit more of their time. How? Tell them something great that you’ve done that applies to the job you are trying to get. Tell them what you can do for them. Use facts and numbers. Stand out!
#2 You don’t show them how you will be a benefit to the company. You can’t just tell them what you are good at. You need to know what the company’s need are (this is where your research comes in) and you need to be able to deomonstrate how you can help them solve their problems. Connect your skills to their needs and give them examples of how you have solved problems in the past.
#3 They don’t think your skills are relevant to the job. You can throw all the skills out there that you like but let’s face it – if those skills are not relevant to the job you are applying for then they are useless as far as the company is concerned. Get focused on presenting yourself in a light that matches what the job description requires.
#4 The letter isn’t addressed to a specific person. In this day and age there is almost always a way to find the name of the hiring manager. The Internet makes it much easier. You can use LinkedIn or Zoominro.com, or the company website. Think creatively and try your hardest to find the right name because think how much you are going to stand out if you are the only person that bothered to address your letter to someone specific instead of “Dear Ma’am or Sir”.
#5 You’re not assertive enough. The higher the role that you are applying for, the more assertive you need to be because they will be looking for a confident leader with a take charge attitude. Even if you’re not applying for a leadership role, avoid passive language. Active and assertive language will make you appear more confident and more able to handle the job.