Your cover letter is the first thing a prospective employer sees. It is your chance to grab their attention and make a positive first impression. It should be clear, concise, and snappy. To achieve this you need to know what not to put in a cover letter.
Remember that employers receive hundreds of resumes and cover letters samples and generally scan them very quickly. You need to make sure that yours stands out if you want to progress through to the first interview stage.
It is always a good idea to include a cover letter unless the job posting specifies otherwise. It shows that you’re genuinely interested in the position and it gives you an extra opportunity to sell yourself.
There are a number of common cover letter mistakes which many candidates make. Below is a list of things you should never include in a cover letter.
What not to include in a cover letter
A thoughtful, well-written cover letter can compliment your resume. Many candidates get it wrong as they don’t know how to format a cover letter. What not to put in a resume cover letter? There are a number of things.
One of the most important concerns is the length as it needs to be concise and snappy. Read these cover letter tips on how long a cover letter should be. Make sure you avoid including these things in your cover letter…
Making silly mistakes such as typos on your cover letter gives a poor first impression. It looks sloppy and unprofessional. Make sure you proofread your cover letter at least a few times and give it to someone else to look at too as spotting your own mistakes can be difficult.
Employers are not interested in your personal life. Keep your cover letter format professional and focus on your strengths as a worker and the key job requirements. You don’t need to say your marital status, religion, ethnicity, age, hobbies, or anything else unrelated to your ability to do the job.
Only include this if the job posting specifies that you should. And even if you’re required to, be vague and give a very wide salary bracket. You don’t want to give the impression that your money is your primary motivation for applying and you also want to put yourself in a strong position to negotiate your salary.
Too much information
This is one of the most important cover letter mistakes to avoid. You should be clear, concise, and snappy. You should focus on a few key strengths and not simply reword your entire resume in the form of a letter. It should be a short summary which is kept to under a single page.
Complaints about past or present employers are things your cover letter should never say. Stay positive and focus on what you can bring to the role you’re applying for. You want to make a positive first impression, not a negative one.
Lies or exaggerations
Facts can easily be checked and lying on your resume or cover letter can put you in a difficult position. Don’t include qualifications which you don’t have or made up past job positions. With improving technology it is now easier than ever to fact check and many candidates get caught out.
Don’t be modest by hiding your talents but if you do make a claim, back it up with evidence. You can’t expect an employer to just take your word from it. Provide examples of when you’ve shown your strengths in past positions. Your resume will help to support the claims you make in the cover letter. Make sure it’s up-to-scratch by using a resume builder.