A candidate is called for an interview based on the strength of their application, and a cover letter is their first chance to make an impression if they’re hoping to progress further. Essentially, it is a letter of introduction used to highlight your accomplishments and explain why you’re the right person for the job. A cover letter adds focus to your application so each cover letter must be tailored to each job, each employer. This week, our experts explain how you can avoid those common cover letter mishaps.
“One of the most common cover letter mistakes is forgetting to update the company name. We highly recommend re-writing each cover letter to reflect the job you’re applying to, but always double check you’ve included the correct job title, contact details and company name. There is nothing more embarrassing than applying for a job only to find out you’ve addressed your cover letter to one of their biggest competitors, where you previously applied for a similar role.”
“Check, check and check again for spelling mistakes. Make sure that you have not simply cut and pasted a cover letter from another application, as there may be role-specific information that is incorrect in your latest letter. Unless you know the name of the person you are applying to, use Dear Sir/Madam at the start and Yours faithfully at the end.”
Caspar Bartington – The Chartered Insurance Institute
“Cover letters are vital to any job application, but many people neglect to apply the same standards to them as they do to their CV or application form, particularly when they apply to online jobs. Yet it is the first thing employers will read and first impressions count. The main things to take into account are not to make the cover letter too long or too short – one side of paper is enough. It should just highlight why you are the person for the job. Check the grammar and spelling and overall presentation and, importantly, tailor it to the job you are applying for. Do not send generic cover letters.”
Mandy Garner – WorkingMums.co.uk
“When you’re applying for multiple jobs in a short amount of time, you can’t always rely on computer spellcheck to save you from making all the potential cover letter mistakes. There is no harm in sending out a generic covering letter but it is much better to tailor each one. If you do use a standard template for your cover letters, make sure that you change the name and address on the top of each covering letter. No employer wants an application cover letter with another company’s name and address on it. So double check that there is no mention of another company in the letter before attaching it to your CV. It may seem obvious, but believe us, it’s been done!”