​Cover Letter Mistakes

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June 22, 2012

Cover Letter Mistakes – Here are some mistakes to avoid when sending your cover letter to a potential employer with your resume. It can also demonstrate that you are savvy in the ways of marketing yourself and selling your best qualifications. A good one can entice the recipient.

You should always send a cover letter with your resume. Sure, there are some employers that don’t read them or place much importance on them. But since you don’t know whether the employer you’re writing to reads and values cover letters or not, you must include a letter.

Always address the letter to the specific name of the recipient. Addressing the letter to “Dear Personnel Director/HR Director,” “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Sir or Madam” (or worse, “Dear Sirs”) instead of a named individual are all lazy approaches that show the employer that you were not concerned enough to find out the name of the person with the hiring power. It’s not always easy to find the name of the specific hiring manager, but try to do so if at all possible.

Usually, you can just call the company and ask who the hiring manager is for a given position. Tap into your personal network to learn the names of hiring managers.

For example, let’s say a company posts an opening online. You know someone who works at the company. Ask your contact to find out the name of the person hiring for that position. Also use the library, phone book, and Internet to track down names of hiring managers.

The worst-case scenario is that your letter will begin “Dear Hiring Manager for [name of position]:” It’s not the best approach, but if you absolutely cannot find a name, this salutation does at least provide some specificity.

In addition, never tell the potential employer what the company can do for you instead of what you can do for the company. This mistake is particularly common among new college graduates and other inexperienced job-seekers. In most cases, employers are in business to make a profit.

And finally, don’t leave the ball in the employer’s court. Too many cover letters end with a line like this: “I look forward to hearing from you.” Proactive cover letters, in which the job-seeker requests an interview and promises to follow up with a phone call, are far more effective. Don’t be vague about your desire to be interviewed.