Photo (cc) by Jim Makos
While many prospective job applicants toil away on their resumes, making sure that the document effectively communicates the scope of their skills, education and experience, crafting a memorable cover letter often seems to come as an afterthought. But not taking the time to write an effective cover letter could prove to be a costly mistake for job applicants.
“If your resume gets you in the door, your cover letter is what prompts employers to answer that door in the first place,” according to employment website Monster.com.
According to career site The Muse, a well-crafted and memorable cover letter could mean the difference between you scoring an interview with your dream employer or ending up with the other rejected candidates.
If you realized how many boring, cliché or completely redundant to the resume cover letters are circulating on the planet this very minute, you’d understand what a huge opportunity you have in writing a killer one. No one expects them. No one. So when a recruiter or hiring manager comes across one? It’s golden.
If you want your cover letter to stand out, job experts at The Muse said there are five common “say nothing” lines that you should delete from your cover letter before submitting it to a prospective employer:
- “I am uniquely qualified.” “Unless you’re a purple-haired juggler who speaks Mandarin and plays the lute — and happen to be applying for a position as juggling lute player (who, ideally, speaks Mandarin and has brightly colored hair), then chances are you are not, in fact, uniquely qualified for that job,” The Muse explains. Enough said.
- “Here’s what I’m looking for.” The Muse says job seekers should focus on what they can deliver to the employer if hired, not what they are expecting to get out of the job. “Potential employers don’t yet care what you want out of this deal,” The Muse said.
- “I don’t have …” Unless you’re missing a mandatory credential or qualification for the position, in which case you may want to reconsider applying for the job, then you should highlight what you can contribute as an employee, not showcase what skills or experience you lack. “Shift that beam right on over to the stuff you know you’ll do well on their behalf,” The Muse said.
- “I have enclosed my resume.” This line is nothing more than a waste of space. Of course your resume is included. Also, remember that your cover letter should “enhance your resume,” not rehash what you’ve already written in the resume.
- “It would be an honor to work for (wrong company name).” “You may gasp to think that someone could be this careless, but it happens all the time, especially among job seekers who use a generic cover letter format and just cut, paste, cut, paste company names in and out,” The Muse said. It’s best to craft a new, customized cover letter for each job prospect.
Check out “7 Tips for Writing a Winning Cover Letter.”
Do you find it difficult to write a cover letter for a job application? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.