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Four Cover Letter Moves That Can Undermine Your Chances

By Jeremy Cyrus 02/26/2014
Four Cover Letter Moves That Can Undermine Your Chances

Before you put the finishing touches on your cover letter and resume and send them off, take a close look at your letter and make sure you aren't guilty of some of these seemingly minor missteps that can set your job search back.

Cover Letter Blunders

1. Not enough tailoring.

It isn't quite enough to just cut and paste the name of the company and the job title into the same template letter that you use for every application. Of course using a template cover letter is fine (don't rewrite every letter from scratch), but remember that your readers are intelligent human beings. They aren't fooled by simple mail-merges, and they want a candidate who takes this specific job and company seriously. Include a sentence or two in each letter that shows you've put some thought and research into this specific application.

2. Negative remarks of any kind.

Of course you aren't going to disparage your former employers, customers, or coworkers. But make sure you also speak well (or not at all) of this company's competitors, competing products from other markets, media stories that aren't popular in this industry, or any of the industry's best-known failures. Negative remarks are unacceptable, even if you assume your readers will share your opinion.

3. Confusing sentences.

Never confuse your readers. If you just can't seem to make a sentence flow no matter what you do, take it out. Nothing bores and alienates a reader faster than a sentence that leaves him scratching his head and wondering what you meant to say. Before you send your cover letter off, read it aloud at least once.

4. Ignored or misunderstood directions.

Before you send, look back over the post and make sure you've offered everything these employers have asked for, including a salary range, a current address, a clear statement of your years of experience, etc, etc. Visit Free Resume Builder for formatting tools that can help you seamlessly work these into your message.

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