How To Avoid Mistakes In Cover Letter Writing
Common mistakes in cover letter writing
How much is a cover letter to a resume important for an HR manager, and what exactly should this letter be to increase your chances to get positive reaction?
Many jobseekers underestimate the power of cover letter and thus they are left behind those candidates, who increase their chances for employment with the help of the letter. Our resume service online has collected and now publishes for you the advice of HR experts, who have worked in many big companies. They share their experience on why a cover letter should be written and how to compose it better to get a job.
HR managers say they are responsible not just for selecting the right candidates for certain positions, but also for making them feel comfortable in the company. There is an important moment: HR is a quite creative profession. There are no common approaches. There is no system. Of course, there are more or less effective, and also innovative methods of communication, but two essential elements should always be taken into consideration: these are so-called human factor and “rules of the game” accepted in a company. For example:
- an HR manager or an employer may just does not like you as a person, but you will never know about it;
- you can be a young mother and thus you will have less advantages comparing with an ambitious 25-year old unbound young man;
- you are more than 40 years old, although the refusal on the age basis is illegal;
- you provoke unconscious negative associations – here you have no chances;
- you have red nail polish, or shabby suit, or defiant manners and so on.
Alas… However, at the stage of correspondence acquaintance while they read your resume you have a chance to make a more or less objective impression, and you should know how to use this chance. In this post on cover letter writing we will explain you how to do it in a proper way.
Cover letter is the first step in your acquaintance with a recruiter. Have you managed to make the recruiter interested? If yes, click – and he opens your resume. If you failed to make him interested – he opens your resume and reads it in two seconds. You may think that it is boring to write cover letter, or it is hard, and of course it is much easier to make one variant for all the vacancies. But remember that the market of candidates is competitive environment, so you have to pull yourself together and exert yourself.
Everything what will be said further applied for business structures as well as for creative industry. Of course, there are nuances. Oil company differs in selecting principles from advertising agency, and a big international company differs from small local one. However, at the stage of correspondence acquaintance through resume and cover letter almost the same rules of the game are used.
There is doubt that your cover letter will be read by your potential employer, big boss or HR Director. Probably it will be read by a recruiter with not very high qualification, that is why the letter should be: brief; understandable in style; without any general phrases; respondent to several fundamentally important issues.
There are different opinions on how much time a recruiter spends on reading your resume. Anyway, this time is measured with minutes, experienced workers look through the text diagonally very fast. Cover letter reading takes even less time. That is why two-three paragraphs of informative text will be more than enough. Do not write more than half of a page, even if this is the employer of your dream.
There are companies and people whom you can impress simply saying: “Give me a job and you will not be sorry!”, but in this case you should send your resume and portfolio immediately, and you should be invited for an interview right after the letter sending. Do not be too much self-confident. Write an adequate short text.
Recruiter, as a rule, is a person in the early stages of an HR career. But not always and it does not mean that the first meeting with him is unnecessary stage that does not deserve your attention, but in most cases these are people who does not have high qualification yet. So our letter should be clear in form, style and content.
Avoid formalities. Do not write “Hi, HR!”, it is absolutely excess to write about your life since your school years and give lyrical descriptions of your life path using complex sentences. This is strongly repulsive form.
Cover letter is a kind of business correspondence, not flirt and not an intimate talk or heart-to-heart conversation. Be as much clear as possible, it makes everything much simpler. Also, remember that there are many resume and cover letter writing services that can help you to write both kinds of documents in a proper way.
3. No excess and lyrical information
Let’s give the examples. There is nothing more terrible than a phrase “I am sure my work experience and professional skills meet your requirements”. When a recruiter read this phrase for a thousand time, he will have a nervous breakdown. Thus your resume will definitely fail.
Or another example: “Good afternoon! I am interested in the vacancy “Project Manager” in you company. I believe my experience in previous companies meets the requirements and I can bring your company profit working in this position. Please, consider my resume as a candidate”. Have you recognized yourself in this letter? If yes, you can be sure that your resume has been already thrown into rubbish bin.
Here is some lyrical text: “I worked a lot since the early childhood: in high school I occupied the position of a secretary, then I taught German and Math, worked as a guide, educator, barman, and even as a journalist at a famous edition…”
Or: “Let’s begin with good new: I am active, I can cope with difficulties without paying attention to them; I am an eternal dreamer and a creative person and also I am a child with a childish spontaneity and openness to the world. My motto is “There is nothing impossible. I can do everything”. By the way, I have tattoos”. And another page of the text follows.
Or: “Why do you need me? – you will ask. There are many reasons. I will name two main. The first reason is complete match with your requirements. The second one is my work experience, about which it would be better to say in numbers not to load you with the excess text”. As a rule, an excess text follows after such words.
There is no meaning and content in the given examples, unfortunately. However, there are too much chaotic thoughts and mediocrity judgments. Do not be ridiculous, be useful, provoke envy with your professionalism, even if you do not match this very vacancy.
Make recruiter close your resume feeling sorry that now there is no job for you in the company. Make him go home telling others what a great resume and what an excellent cover letter he has read.
4. Three key answers to the questions
Cover letter should fully but in brief form answer three main questions:
1) What can you do?
2) What can you give the company occupying this position?
3) What salary do you want to have? (do not explain why, numbers are enough)
You should try to write your cover letter in such a way that a person, who will read it, will have no general questions to you. Write who you are, how old you are, whether you are able to formulate your thoughts in written form or not, how much money you want to be paid and why you are interested in this position.
Be ready that nine out of ten recruiters will not be able to appreciate your efforts, nine out of ten will not reply you or will laugh. All this is worth the time spent, if one out of ten will hear you and reply, even if one out of twenty.
Fixing and strengthening
What is forbidden:
- life description / biography – “I was born in an intellectual family, got only the highest marks at school, I read the following books…, I a fond of knitting” and so on;
- bragging and pathos: “now I have reached such a level that I am interested not only in good projects and financial prospects, but also in company image”;
- tabloid lexicon and absence of formal bonders: “Why do you need me? It is simple – I am the best (smiling face)”.
Make your list of the best companies. Write also that you are ready for further communication. Let them know you want to work there, maybe not now, but in a year. There is a chance they have personnel reserve.
Do not be afraid of anything. The job search is also work, free work by the way. Every day you look for a job, if you do not have it at the moment, you do not get any money. Remember that there is nothing better than honest and open talk during the correspondence as well as during personal meeting.
Courage, honesty and less foolish actions are key elements of success. Talk to HR manager, he is a human being as well, he can understand you. And a “cherry on the cake”: many HR managers say that photos make their life easier. The most important condition is to avoid sea and luxury cars on the background, swimming suits, vases with flowers, provocative postures, and even passport variants. And use less creativity: no frames, smiling faces, absurd and funny accessories. Live and open look, qualitative portrait shooting, sufficient photo size so that it is possible to see your face. All this is a huge plus to the first step towards you.
We hope that this post about cover letter writing common mistakes will be useful for you. You will manage to write such a cover letter that will provide you with an invitation for an interview. Or you can just use our services, and our team of professionals will create a perfect resume and a cover letter for you.