Are you committing cover letter crimes?

Posted September 16, 2013, by

Your cover letter is just as important as your resume, as it’s typically the first document employers read when considering your application. Some employers even consider your cover letter more important than your resume because it gives insight into who you are and convinces them whether or not they should continue reading your resume. This is why you should make sure you have a polished and professional cover letter.

Protect your first impression by clearing your cover letter of these few common mistakes. 

1. Long and wordy cover letters

Employers and hiring managers are usually reading dozens of resumes and cover letters, so they won’t appreciate receiving a complicated letter that is difficult to follow. It is best to state what position you are applying for, what key skills and experiences you have that make you qualified for the job, and what you have to offer. Make sure you get to the point quickly. 

2. Summarising or repeating content from your resume

Your cover letter should not repeat everything on your resume, but rather spotlight your experience in the context of the job and highlight the key achievements and skills that make you the best candidate for the position. Your cover letter should entice employers to want to read the whole of your resume. 

3. Sending generic cover letters to multiple employers

Hiring managers can tell when applicants use a generic letter for dozens of positions and doing this won’t convince them that you are serious about the job or really want it. You should tailor every cover letter you send out and personally address the letter to either the hiring manager or HR administrator interviewing you, or try to find out the name of the manager or supervisor you would work under should you get hired. 

4. Failing to specify the position you are applying for

If you address the company you’re applying to but not the particular position, you could miss your opportunity. Unless this is a general enquiry, you should talk about the experience you have relating to the specific functions of the position. The employer has laid out what they’re looking for in the job advertisement so make it clear and easy for them to see how you’re a good match. 

5. Typos or incorrect information

Your cover letter suggests to employers the quality of work you will produce if hired. If your cover letter is full of typos, grammatical errors or old contact details, this can show laziness and a lack of professionalism.

6. Talking about your personal life or salary expectations

Your cover letter should be focused on how your professional experience can serve as an asset to the company. Do not add personal information that is not related to the job you are applying for. You should keep it professional and never bring up salary expectations in the cover letter.

This article is based on the free eBook Time to find a new job, written by Gavin F. Redelman of RedStarResume and published by You can find more than 1,000 free eBooks on Topics range from career and personal development to MS Office and management. Visit to browse all of their free eBooks.

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