Reasons Your Cover Letter Is Not Working

Elizabeth Witbeck

The cover letter is one of the most important parts of your job application. It tells your employer about yourself and why you are interested in the position. Many job candidates are unsure of how to write a good cover letter, and this leads them to not secure the job of their choice.

They may apply to many positions without realizing the errors that they are making. It is important to write an amazing cover letter that will make hiring managers want to read the rest of your application and contact you for an interview.

Below we have outlined the most common errors that applicants make when writing their cover letters.

Forgetting to send in a cover letter.

Perhaps the biggest mistake of all is that job applicants do not send in a cover letter – either because they forget to, or because they believe that it is unnecessary.

A cover letter is an important part of your job application. It tells a hiring manager why they should employ you. Whether you are applying for a job at the local grocery store or as a supervisor at a company, you should send in a cover letter with your application.

Putting the same information in the cover letter and your resume.

Many people are unsure of how to write a cover letter. They write similar things to what is found on their resume, and send it in with their job application. This is incorrect.

While a resume is a chronological listing of your experience, a cover letter serves to let the hiring manager get to know more about you personally. This is an opportunity to let them know why you are interested in them as a company and why you are a good fit for this specific position.

Rehashing the information on your resume is redundant and a waste of a cover letter.

Failing to discuss why you should get the job.

The number one question on a hiring manager’s mind when they look at your job application is “Why should I hire this person?” You need to make it easy for them by answering this question.

Your cover letter and resume need to state why you are the best person for the job. Many people place filler words in their cover letter, such as dependable and works good with a team, but fail to mention why, specifically, you are the best qualified person for the job.

Discuss the requirements of the job and how you will meet all of these needs. Discuss how you have gone above and beyond in previous similar positions.

Being too formal or informal.

It is important to strike a good balance with the tone of your writing. You don’t want to sound too casual and informal.

Remember, this is the company you may work for, and you want to make a good impression. You can also sound too formal in your cover letter, as if you copied it from some template off of a job search website.

You want to sound like a human, not a robot. The hiring manager may be your future coworker, so address them in the cover letter like you would any coworker.

Writing too much.

Try to keep your cover letter as brief as possible. Hiring managers are people with little time on their hands, and often are skimming through job applications, trying to see which ones are keepers.

Keep your cover letter brief to ensure that the hiring manager will read your application. Your cover letter should never be more than one page. Ideally it should be two or three short paragraphs.

This is the perfect amount of writing in order to pique their interest and get them to read your resume for more information.

Giving too much information.

Your cover letter should be confined to the details about why you are interested in applying to this specific position, and what experience you have that will make you an excellent candidate.

Don’t get distracted by mentioning details that are irrelevant. It is not necessary to tell the hiring manager what types of activities you do in your spare time, or that you are recently married, or that you moved three places in the past year.

You may think certain details are necessary, but the hiring manager often does not care.

Sending in a form template.

When you are in the middle of a job search, it is tempting to go onto a job search website, find a cover letter you like, and style your own cover letter in the same form.

You may send similar cover letters to dozens of employers. It is important to not do this. An employer wants to know specifically why you are applying to work at that particular company, and what it is about that position that gets you excited.

This will let them know that you care deeply about the position and that they are making a good hiring decision. Be sure to craft a different cover letter for every job that you apply to.

Not proofreading your document.

There is no quicker way to get your job application rejected than to have numerous errors within it. After you have written your cover letter, you need to read it to make sure that it is error free. The spelling and the grammar should be correct.

First impressions are important, and you want to make a good impression on the hiring manager. Handing in a cover letter with spelling and grammar mistakes may give them the impression that you do not pay attention to detail and will make other mistakes on the job.

Be sure to read your cover letter and make sure it is in perfect condition before submitting it.

Hopefully this provides some clarity into what you can do to improve your cover letter.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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