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Cover letter mistakes (with tips on how to fix them)

A cover letter is a crucial component of any job application, as it allows you to introduce yourself, showcase your relevant experience, and highlight your enthusiasm for a role - as well as add some personality to your job application.


However, it’s very easy to fall victim to these common cover letter mistakes.


Cover letter mistakes and tips for how to fix them

So without further ado, here’s the most common cover letter mistakes, with tips on how to fix them!


Not Tailoring for the role

One of the most common cover letter mistakes is not tailoring the letter to the specific job or company. A generic cover letter that could be used for any job won't catch the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager.


Instead, take the time to read the job description carefully and tailor your cover letter to highlight how your skills and experience align with the requirements of the job (also known as the key selection criteria).


I like to do this by highlighting my client's top 3-4 skills or unique selling points (in dot point sentences), and making sure the language aligns with the job selection criteria.


Repeating Your Resume in your Cover Letter

Another common cover letter mistake is simply re-stating the information that is already included in your resume. Your cover letter should provide additional context and details about your experience, not just repeat what is already there.


You can also make sure you highlight your most relevant achievements - again clearly stating how your experience matches what they are looking for.


Focusing Too Much on Yourself

While a cover letter is an opportunity to showcase your experience, skills and achievements, it's important to remember that the letter is ultimately about how you can contribute to the company's success (by using your unique skills), rather than just what you hope to gain from the job.

So make you extend your declaration of skills to say how this helps an organisation.


Editing Issues: Biggest cover letter tip!

Spelling and grammar mistakes are a red flag for recruiters and hiring managers, but an even bigger mistake is not proof-reading and leaving in the wrong company name or job title! So, always proofread your cover letter carefully before submitting it, and consider asking a trusted colleague or friend to review it as well.


It's worth the effort

A well-written cover letter can be the difference between getting an interview and being overlooked for a job.


So take the time to tailor your letter to the job and company. This will increase your chances of standing out from the crowd and landing your dream job.

Want a winning cover letter template? Get one in the Not Just A Resume Template Program!
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