Things to Avoid

Avoid the following ‘don’ts’ in your cover letters to increase your chances of landing the position.

  • Don’t address the letter “Dear Sirs”.  The person reading your letter may be a woman who won’t be impressed with this salutation. Instead, find out the name of the person who will be reviewing your résumé by contacting the company’s human resources department, or if they won’t give you a name, address your letter “Attention: Human Resources Department”. 
  • Don’t forget to say which position you are applying for.  Many companies advertise more than one position at a time.
  • Don’t send a cover letter that has not been thoroughly proofread.  Typographical and grammatical errors (such as confusing “you’re” with “your”) create a poor impression. Also, don’t forget to address the letter to the right company and position.
  • Don’t focus on what you want.  In this case the applicant said he thought he’d enjoy the job and get experience. Focus instead on what value you can bring to the employer, such as increasing revenues or cutting costs.
  • Don’t send a generic letter.  You can make a much better impression by mentioning the company name and doing a little research so you can say something flattering about the company. You can learn what companies pride themselves on, including their products and achievements, by checking their Web sites.
  • Don’t appear desperate.  Avoid comments such as “I’ve already sent out a bunch of résumés without much luck.” Employers may wonder if there’s a good reason why no one else has hired you.
  • Don’t challenge them to hire you.  Employers will be turned off if you say something like “It’s your loss if you don’t hire me.” Instead, show them, with examples of your accomplishments, why you would be an asset to their company.