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Is Your Cover Letter Costing You a Job?

Written by Arica Ureña onSeptember 30, 2019.

A perfectly crafted cover letter can significantly increase your chances of standing out above the competition. Cover letters are a last-ditch effort to persuade the hiring manager why you are you are the perfect candidate for the position before landing an interview.  However, hiring managers Typically spend less no more than six seconds or less is spent reviewing a cover letter before deciding if they someone is interested would like to in knowing more about an applicant. So, it’s your job as the applicant to capture the attention of the manager, quickly and for the right reasons. Avoiding some of the most common cover letter pitfalls can ensure the hiring manager’s attention is captured for the talents displayed on the cover letter versus the mistakes.

Entirely too long.  A cover letter’s page length should not extend beyond one-page. Think of your cover letter as a trailer to your resume. The goal is to provide the hiring manager with a teaser of the qualifications you will bring to the organization if you were offered the position.

Address the hiring manager by name.  This may require you to conduct some research, but it would prove to be extremely beneficial if you were able to locate the name of the hiring manager for the position you are applying for. Individuals who receive a document that is addressed to them specifically, have more of a vested interest in what the contents of the document state. If you are unable to locate the name of the hiring manager, then you can address it as “Dear Hiring Manager” as a last resort.

Missing Keywords or required qualifications.  While crafting your cover letter, keep the job announcement handy to ensure you have included the keywords, as well as addressed all of the required qualifications mentioned in the announcement.

No mention of your qualifications supporting the company.  A rule of thumb is to mention your qualifications in support of the organization’s mission. Again, here’s where research will prove to be your most valuable asset. Visit the company’s website to locate some of the organization’s current initiatives and address how you can use your skills and abilities to support the mission in the cover letter.

Missing contact information.  I know this may seem like common sense, but this occurs far too often. The header of a cover letter should include the applicant’s name, address, email, and telephone number. If you have a completed and up-to-date LinkedIn profile, it can also be added.

No call to action.  The call to action is typically found in the closing paragraph of the cover letter. It is up to you to state what you would like the next steps to be, which in this case is the opportunity to interview for the position. Additionally, you should provide the best method to contact you, as well as your availability to interview.

By identifying and avoiding some of the most common cover letter pitfalls, you will be well on your way to securing the interview.

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