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3 Things to Never Include in Your Cover Letter

— April 28, 2021

Make your cover letter strong with a good, and thus not impersonal, salutation, put stress on your strengths, and forget to mention something crucial you’re lacking.

Preparing a strong, noticeable cover letter is not any less crucial than making a sound resume. Even more, being the opportunity to make the very first impression on your prospective employer, it can appear more important than the CV or resume it actually “covers”! In this article, we prepared a shortlist of the 3 most common mistakes job seekers make in their cover letters. So, take your time to read it and avoid those mistakes in the future.

1. Don’t salute your potential employers impersonally!

“To whom it may concern”, “Dear Sir or Madam” – those pathetically formal and impersonal salutations could seem very polite to a job seeker. But really, they could start the chain of negative impressions on the potential hiring manager. 

Why so? – Because those salutations indicate that you haven’t dedicated any time to seriously research the company, its personnel, and particularly, its HR manager. In its turn, this can indicate that the job seeker doesn’t consider the company seriously or have a strong desire to work in it. 

Thus, the hiring manager will likely send such a cover letter to the trash bin on her computer. But the real reason for greeting prospective employers that formally and impersonally was to seem more polite, wasn’t it? And it’s sometimes not that easy to find out a certain company’s hiring manager’s name on the Internet.

If you really can’t find the hiring manager’s name and at the same time don’t want to seem to have politeness problems, there is the optimal solution. Instead of “sirs or madams” and the like, write the “Dear Hiring Manager” salutation in your cover letter! This will characterize you as a polite and serious candidate and be pleasant for the hiring manager.

Also, you can find more information on how to constitute the right greeting in your cover letter in this article.

2. Never put the stress on anything you’re lacking.

As you might have already noticed, the number of vacancies is growing. Employers are striving to hire the best professionals, and requirements for potential candidates are becoming more and more complex. And, you might encounter the plaguesome feeling of lacking some crucial skills or knowledge quite often.

But you want to get the job in that cool company, and you’re ready to take the challenge of being ashamed, and that’s why you decide to confess to lacking some crucial skills or qualifications for the position. “After all, some of the required points I do have, and it’s better, to be honest from the very beginning…”, – you might think. Well, all that can be said here is “Never do that!”

Employers, first of all, are interested in what you can really offer to their companies. And, you can only provide what you have, not what you’re lacking. Charm the company you want to work in with what you’re best at, show them your strengths and what is vital here – show how those strengths can be applied to their business. 

This is the main principle of the successful “sale” on the job market today! And, by putting stress on what you lack, you rather are trying to “apologize in advance” for your incompetence, and together with this, show your self-doubt. 

This all smells uncertain in attitude to your candidature, and eventually – failure to get the job offer! If your goal is to get a PR-manager’s job, you can highlight your expertise by showing that you know what the Linksmanagement press release service is.

Should you want to get some more information on this point, you can refer to this article on the inferiority complex in jobseekers.

3. Don’t focus on your interests only!

HRs also sometimes encounter cover letters where job seekers talk about how cool they are, boasting their talents and accomplishments and forgetting how that all could be useful for the company. And, it’s another mistake in preparing a cover letter, which can be called “overselling”.

Man on a job interview; image courtesy of Amtec Staffing, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.
Man on a job interview; image courtesy of Amtec Staffing, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.

Don’t repeat it in yours, as it looks rather arrogant, and can’t witness for the person’s seriousness and readiness to put one’s efforts in working for the company. Of course, you can mention why the vacancy is interesting for you. 

This is rather important to understand your motivation to take that particular job. But know the measure and mention why you can be valuable for the company and how the company could benefit from having you as an employee. 

Try to keep a balance between stressing your talents and showing how useful they can be for the company. So, focusing on yourself and what you’re searching for only is a bad mistake and is referred to by professional hiring managers as the worst thing they encounter in cover letters. 

It’s always better instead of talking only about your excellencies, explain why you could fit best to fill the position and close the vacancy, how the company could develop its success as a result of signing a job contract with you!

To not overlook the signs of egocentrism in your CV as well, look into this material.

Final Words

Luckily, it is not that hard to make a good cover letter. Make your cover letter strong with a good, and thus not impersonal, salutation, put stress on your strengths, and forget to mention something crucial you’re lacking. And, stick to the simple rule of the good sale on the job market: emphasize your talents and strengths but together with this, also mention why and how the company can benefit from them!

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