Your dream firm just came up with an amazing job posting and you can hardly wait to apply? Here's an advice: do wait and take a good hard look at your cover letter! While we have always been taught to be super vigilant of our resume content, it is, in fact, the cover letter that truly counts. After all, it happens to be the first piece of information about you that your potential recruiter comes across. And like they taught us, first impressions are really something (if not the last ones!)
We do recognise that applying for a job can be an unnerving task, especially for a post or company that you really, really care about. However, before all that nerve ends being reflected in your job application, take a look at the following list of five major cover Letter mistakes that you are likely to make but should avoid at all costs:
While writing a cover letter, do not sound like a call centre employee even if you are applying for a call centre. Take this from us: your recruiter has seen enough generic cover letters to know how much thought has been put in writing one. They know it when an applicant copies the generic cover letter template from google and manipulates it just enough to sound it like it is their own hard work. Unless you are applying for a job just for some fun and would be okay irrespective of you getting selected for the job: don't do it! Plus, You cannot send the very same cover letter to ten-odd companies. That’s not how you go about it even if you are applying for similar job roles.
Here's what you should do: Your cover letter should be personalised as per your career trajectory as well as the job that you are applying for. Go through the job role and elaborate on how it aligns with your career path so far. Also, try and grasp the brand ideology of the company that you are applying for and borrow from it while insisting on your relevance for the new job role.
Before I enlighten you with some gyan on this, take this from my own experience: I once wrote “ot” instead of “to” in a cover letter and it didn’t go well! Insignificant as they might sound, the smallest mistakes on your cover letter send your potential employer in the alert mode. Grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and formatting issues are just interpreted as lack of preparation and carelessness. No one wants a laid-back employee in their team! And hey “email@example.com,” thou shall not use that email id in your cover letter!
Here's what you should do: While sending a cover letter, you need to sound prepared and while proof-reading is a must, taking inputs from someone professional can take you a long way. Use Grammarly or similar tools, these help you with correcting grammatical mistakes. And, I cannot stress this enough, but please, oh please format your cover letter properly before sending the send button. Nothing conveys a lack of interest as earnestly as contrasting fonts. Lastly, create a professional email id if you don’t have one. That’s the only way to go about it.
No, you didn’t 'single-handedly run' that national-level campaign and your potential recruiter is smart enough to figure that out. Irrespective of how many sit-com jokes you must have heard about exaggerating in your cover letter or resume, always remember that: Joey cannot dance and this always is a bad idea. While on rare occasions this might help you land a job, there is a high probability that it will come back to haunt you later and you don’t want to deal with that kind of stress in a new workplace. Do you really want to fumble with photoshop right in front of your new manager after rambling about your God-level editing abilities in the cover letter?
Here's what you should do: A well-balanced, honest cover letter, will always set the expectations right and thus take you a long way. Avoid sounding like a self-obsessed nightmare in your cover letter. While it might sound interesting to you (for obvious reasons), it’s actually boring AF. You are looking to impress not inspire your potential recruiter and an impassioned account of your life and character is just going to throw them off. Share your experiences and what they taught you. Remember, it is your learning that the employer is interested in. Enthusiastic, not emotional is the approach that we are looking for here.
Yes, we have all heard those super cool stories about employers asking applicants to write a cover letter "like a movie script” or “at their funnies best.” But, for the love of God, this is a stunt that should never be attempted unless your recruiter specifically asks for it. And, you just cannot be using the “cool lingo” or slangs and go about LOLing in your cover letter.
Here's what you should do: The letter needs to sound professional instead of reading like a Whatsapp text message. Make sure that you aren’t using words like “abt” instead of “about” and “info” instead of “information” out of habit. Assess and reassess the tone until it sounds professional and polished. Run it through somebody senior in the industry if need be but stay clear of committing this really stupid form of professional suicide.
If your cover letter was supposed to sound just like your resume then why would a recruiter even need it in the first place? There is absolutely no point in explaining everything that has been already listed in your resume. All that elaboration and flowery language will do nothing for you and will just reflect a lack of ideas and efforts.
Here's what you should do: Your experience and achievement have already been listed on the resume. That's why your cover letter should do the task of conveying how you have made the best use of all the professional opportunities that you got and what has been your take away from them.
Lastly, always remember that your cover letter is as important as your resume if not more. While a resume just lists out career highlights, a cover letter is an insight into your prowess as a potential employee. Take this from us: half of your work gets done with a stellar cover letter and that’s why you should start working on yours right now!
Featured Image: Shutterstock
Start your 2020 right with our cool new planners and statement-making sweatshirts that are fun, fab and 100% you! Psst... there's an additional 20% off too, so head to POPxo.com/shop and take it up a POP!