Writing a bad cover letter is a definite no, if you want to get a job and even be called for an interview so how do so many people get it wrong? It is important to consider what should be included in a cover letter but we will focus in this article on what not to cover.
Addressing the letter to the wrong person
Addressing your covering letter to the wrong person shows that you do not pay attention to detail and will give an employer the feeling that you do not care enough so they do not wish to meet you. It is a simple requirement of sending and writing a covering letter to address the name on the advert, to the correct address within the correct timescale and format of how they would like to see your application. Anything less will just get put to the back of the queue.
By not proofreading your work and sending in documents that have spelling mistakes, got grammatical errors and generally does not flow well and is not correct will not entice an employer to want to take you to the next steps of interviewing you. Ideally, you will get someone else to do the proofreading as other people can be more objective if it is not your own CV and therefore pick up on it with fresh eyes. It is important that this is done so that you don’t lose your chance for an interview before you have even started.
Being ignorant about the company that you are applying to work for
Demonstrating that you know very little about the company in your covering letter by not mentioning the company will make you look disinterested. This is not the right attitude to give off if you want to get an interview. Show them instead that you have done your research and you know your stuff and that is another positive reason as to why you want to apply for the job they are advertising.
If you write in an informal tone like you are writing to a friend this will not look good at all. You are not talking to your friend through a letter, you are wanting to be extremely professional and therefore the tone of your letter needs to be courteous and professional whilst demonstrating that you can do the role that they are advertising. You want to write in a very formal tone starting with Dear NAME and ending with Yours sincerely and your full name.
Blowing your own trumpet too much
It’s always good to sell yourself in a cover letter but by blowing your own trumpet too much you show that you do not listen and that you like the sound of your own voice too much. This is not good for showing an employer that you want to learn about a new business as they will feel that you are too wrapped up in yourself to be prepared to listen and learn.
Sending a photocopy
Never send a photocopy of a letter to a company as a job application. All that it says to an employer is you have done one substandard letter and are photocopying it and sending it to everyone with no thought, no research and more than likely no recollection of the roles that you are applying for. Definitely not a good start.
Enclosing a photo
Within the UK we do not supply photos as part of our applications. Some modelling companies may require photos for their positions but as a general rule, it is not required and in fact on receiving a covering letter or CV with a photo most companies actually feel that it is silly sending in photos and wonder what has possessed someone to do that.
Not acknowledging the next step
In every covering letter, you should end your letter by asking what is next. You want to know exactly when you will hear from them, if you will hear from them and if you do hear from them what is the next process. Make it obviously aware that you are available for an interview at short notice should they require you to and that if they have any questions prior to a face to face interview then you are more than happy to conduct a telephone interview or answer any questions that they may have regarding your skills and experiences.