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Talent & Recruitment
Cover Letter Mistakes
Feb 3, 2010 | Martin Buckland lock

Cover letters these days are almost as important as a résumé. An investment of time must be made in creating this document written in the personal pronoun. You can tell the reader that you are the perfect candidate, highlighting your attributes, skills sets, etc.

Too Long

A cover letter should be a maximum of one page. Some I have reviewed traverse onto 2 even 3 pages. Place yourself in the reader’s position, time is precious. How long are you going to visually scan the cover letter and the attached résumé? There are varying statistics provided, however, it’s not long.

Failing to address the salutation to a particular person

Dear Sir, or Madam should only be used minimally. Even when replying to a Human Resources Manager as a result of an advert online or in the print media, try to garner the hiring manager’s name. It will add to the impression you make, which is important.

Using weak language

Articulate confidence, strength and power in your verbiage. Use striking positive words like “I am convinced”, or “I am positive I will make a significant impression to the sales function with ABC Company”. Leave out touchy feely expressions like “I feel” or “I believe.”

Repeating your résumé

A cover letter can be strategically used to emphasize the aspects of the résumé that are pertinent to the position or the company. It’s a waste of valuable space if you repeat verbatim items from the résumé.

Typos, grammar/punctuation mistakes

A cover letter and a résumé reflect your ability to write, and communicate intelligently. Ensure the letter is proofread many times before sending.

Not customizing your letter to the specific job or to the company

A cover letter allows you to be highly specific in why you should be hired, what makes you dynamic and impressive and emphasizing the expertise you will provide. If replying to an advert, tie the text closely to the wording of the advert. The recruiting manager’s thoughts will be that this person seems to fit the descriptions and call for an interview!


Too many cover letters are bland, uninteresting and don’t entice the reader at all! Grab the employer’s attention. Tell the employer why you are the perfect fit. Expand on your qualifications and your passions to work for their company in later paragraphs. Write a letter that builds synergy and rapport, making the employer want to call you for an interview.

Telling the employer what the company can do for you!

This is a huge mistake and too common. Employers are looking for the complete reverse. They want to know what you can bring and do for them and how you have accomplished this before. Eloquently, inform the employer how you can meet their needs and contribute to the organization.

About the Author:

Martin Buckland is a Professional Career Management Expert with offices in the U.S. and Canada. President of Elite Résumés, he is certified in résumé writing, executive and career coaching, job search strategies, personal branding and interview coaching. He has extensive knowledge of the best strategies to secure a job most effectively and is well networked with recruiters and human resource professionals across North America.

About the author:

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