13 Common Cover Letter Mistakes You Need To Avoid

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How often do you get rejected from jobs because of a bad resume or cover letter? If you want to land a job, then you should always write a great cover letter.

A cover letter is a brief document attached to your CV (resume) that gives employers additional information about you.

Cover letters are usually sent along with your CV, but they don’t have to go hand in hand. In some instances, you might even send a separate cover letter instead of a CV.

You can save time and effort by avoiding these 13 common mistakes:

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1. Putting too much focus on your achievements and not on how they can benefit from you

You want to sell yourself as someone who has the skills and qualifications needed to work in the company you are applying for.

Make sure that the things you describe in your cover letter match up to what the company needs.

Instead of focusing so much on your own achievements, think more about how you can help your potential employer. Ask questions like “What problem does my skill set solve for them?”.

This will allow you to highlight your expertise while still showing interest in working at the company.

Remember: if you don’t say anything interesting, no one will read it. The best cover letters show you care about the company. They also let the reader know how you would fit into their team.

2. Stuffing your cover letter with irrelevant skills or work experience that’s not in line with the job you’re applying for

In many cases, when an employer reads your application, they only skim through it to find out whether or not you meet the requirements.

Your cover letter doesn’t need to include every single thing you did during your career. Make sure that the parts of your life that are most relevant to the job you’ve applied for are included.

Avoid talking about all of your previous positions. Instead, focus on highlighting the tasks you performed and why they benefit the current organization.

Also, don’t talk about your hobbies and interests since these do not matter to the hiring decision. Your cover letter should be focused on showcasing your abilities as a potential employee.

3. Turning your cover letter into a novel

Although it’s tempting to spill all of your stories on your cover letter. Avoid doing so. Your cover letter shouldn’t be longer than two pages.

If you feel like you have to add extra details here and there, consider writing a summary paragraph where you summarize your main points. This way, you won’t waste a lot of space.

The last thing you would want is to write your cover letter like a novel that makes hiring managers tired just by looking at it which they may end up not reading.

Even though you may have had a long career, try to keep it short. There is no need to turn it into a novel. Remember that your cover letter isn’t supposed to make your resume look like a textbook.

Keep it compact and concise. Focus on keeping your cover letter simple and straight to the point.

4. Too many typos and grammatical errors

It’s easy to get carried away by the excitement of getting a new job opportunity. That’s why you might have forgotten to proofread everything once again. 

A good rule of thumb is to double-check everything twice. If there is any spelling mistake or grammar error in your cover letter, then chances are it will become obvious to the person reading it right after the first few lines.

Use a spell checker online such as Grammarly before sending it out. Also, if possible, ask someone else to take a look at it.

You wouldn’t want to send out a cover letter full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It’ll come across as unprofessional.

5. Talking too much about how you love the company instead of telling them how your skills can help them

Don’t talk too much about the reasons why you love working for the company. This should be avoided since especially if you haven’t told them what you can do for the company and this will give the impression that you’re desperate.

Instead, focus on telling them how your skills and past experiences can translate perfectly well into their business. Show that you understand their needs and use those things in order to demonstrate your worth.

Focus on explaining why you think you can work for them and how you’d fit into the team. Let the company know that you’re excited to work with them and that you’re eager to get started.

6. Sharing too much about your struggles in life in an attempt to gain sympathy from the company

This is one thing that you definitely don’t want to share in your cover letter. Hiring managers would rather read about all the great things you achieved in your career  as this will tell them about what you can potentially do for the company.

Hiring managers also don’t like to waste their time hearing about your personal struggles. They are not your therapists and your purpose for applying for a job is to offer your skills and services for the benefit of the company.

7. Using a cover letter template and not putting effort into editing or rewriting it

If you’ve used a cover letter template, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t edit it according to its specific instructions.

Make sure to add details and information that are relevant to your position and the company. Make changes so that it talks more about why you’re perfect for the role and exactly why you’re going above and beyond compared to other applicants.

Personalizing your cover letter is essential. While a generic cover letter works fine for most jobs, you certainly won’t get hired without having something unique and tailored to you.

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8. Not being specific about how your skills and experience can help the company

You should always be specific about the information that you’ll be including in your cover letter. 

The best way to explain how your skills and experience will help the company you are applying for is to provide specific examples.

Don’t just say “I am super knowledgeable in the area of X”. Instead, show them through concrete examples such as “My previous experience in marketing has helped me develop a strong understanding of customer service. I am confident I could apply my expertise to improve the customer service department at Company XYZ.

9. Repeating the same information from your resume

Cover letters are supposed to be written differently than resumes. Don’t copy-paste the contents of your resume and rephrase it to fit into the requirements of the job posting.

This will make the hiring manager see you as unprofessional and this might lead to them not even considering you for the position.

Also, don’t forget to include any special skills, attributes, education, awards, certifications, etc. which are relevant to the job posting. These aspects will only highlight your strengths and make your cover letter stand out from the competition.

10. Reusing the same cover letter template in every job application

It’s understandable if you have already seen the same employer post multiple times. However, keep in mind that they’re probably looking for a different candidate each time and thus, it doesn’t make sense to use the same cover letter template.

You should tailor your cover letter based on the specifics of each job application instead of using a generic cover letter template.

For example, if you have previously applied for a similar job posting with the same employer, then you should mention the similarities between the two positions.

11. Not doing some research about the company you are applying for

There’s nothing worse than getting rejected by an employer and later finding out that you didn’t know anything about them before sending a cover letter. It will come off as careless and disrespectful.

Before sending in your cover letter, do some research about the company, what they do, who work there, what they want, etc.

This will allow you to write a well-written cover letter that stands out and shows employers why you would be a good fit.

12. Making the mistake of not using keywords to optimize cover letter

A lot of job seekers tend to overlook optimizing their cover letters. They usually send out standard cover letters without including any keywords or phrases that will attract attention from employers.

If you think that keywords aren’t important when creating a cover letter, think again. Our expert resume writers can help you optimize your cover letter which will help you stand out against other job seekers.

Remember that employers read cover letters to find out the applicant’s personality. If you use proper keywords to describe yourself, employers will instantly recognize you.

13. Not putting proper call-to-action

One of the biggest mistakes made by many job seekers is failing to put appropriate call-to-actions (CTAs) on their cover letters.

CTAs are used to tell employers how you want to hear back from them after reading your cover letter.

For instance, the following CTAs are effective:

* Send your CV to * Call me at

* Receive my updated CV at * Contact me at

* Learn more about me here


Your cover letter plays a crucial role in getting hired. Therefore, avoid these common mistakes and ensure that you follow all the guidelines provided above to improve your chances of landing that dream job.

The next step is to take action. Go ahead and start writing your cover letter and apply everything you learned from this article. Or you can take advantage of our professional cover letter writing services and stand out against other job seekers.

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