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Top 7 Deadly Cover Letter Writing Sins

By Vincent Czaplyski

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Don't start off your job search with one (or more) strikes against you by committing any of these common cover letter blunders. Each is easy to avoid, but they can sink your chances of an interview if you include them in your letter.

  1. 1. Sending your letter to the wrong person, location, or

    Do you really want your letter to land you a job at the
    company you're sending it to? Then take the time to verify
    that you have the proper name, title and address for the
    hiring manager or other decision maker who should receive

    Unless you're absolutely sure you already have the most up-
    to-date contact information, take a few minutes to call and
    ask. Otherwise you may as well not bother sending your
    letter - it most likely won't reach the intended recipient.
    And if it does, he or she won't be impressed that you didn't
    bother to take this simple step.

  2. 2. Irritating your potential employer with a pushy, arrogant
    or conceited tone to your letter.

    Are you truly God's gift to humanity? If not, chances are
    you ought to come across with a bit of humility, not
    braggadocio. Save the "I am too good for you not to hire me"
    stuff for when you're bragging to your friends about the
    great job you just landed. (Even they probably won't be
    impressed - and they already like you!) Instead, let your
    accomplishments and skills speak for themselves.

  3. 3. Typos, misspellings, punctuation or grammatical errors.

    There's no excuse for leaving any of these mistakes in a
    cover letter (or a resume for that matter). If such matters
    truly aren't your strong suite, ask a friend to look your
    letter over for you. Blatant errors like these are just one
    more reason for a hiring manager to shunt your resume and
    cover letter aside, never to be seen again. Why? Because
    they'll think you are too lazy, too uncaring or too
    unskilled to be a good fit at their company.

  4. 4. Writing rambling, unfocused sentences and paragraphs.

    Few hiring managers want to think they're reading a newly
    discovered missing page from James Joyce's Ulysses.
    Especially when all they really want to understand is why
    they should read the enclosed resume. Tightly written
    sentences and three or four short paragraphs that
    communicate the answer to that question will help ensure
    your resume gets read, not tossed.

  5. 5. Writing long letters, even if well focused and well

    Here's a good rule to live by: Don't go over one page. It's
    a cover letter, not your autobiography. Capture your
    reader's attention quickly and impress him or her with your
    well written main points. Then let your resume do the rest
    of the talking. Until the interview of course.

  6. 6. Writing a letter that is all about you, and not about
    what you can do for your prospective employer.

    Do you listen to WIFM? Sure you do. That's What's In it For
    Me, the little radio station in our heads that everyone
    listens to, including the person who receives your letter.
    Your potential employer wants to know what you can do for
    him or her, not the other way around. Make sure your letter
    highlights why you will be able to help their company sell
    more widgets, design better satellites or otherwise make its
    future brighter.

  7. 7. Using odd layouts, too many fonts, colors and other
    attention getting devices.

    With rare exception, attention getters like overly busy
    layouts, exotic multi-color designs and odd sized paper have
    no place in a cover letter or resume. Save it for the
    decorations at the next office party.

Copywriter and consultant Vincent Czaplyski is founder of
http://www.impressive-resumes.com, your online source for
professionally written "industrial strength" resumes and
cover letters guaranteed to land you an interview.

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Vincent_Czaplyski

Article Submitted On: April 21, 2005