A cover letter might be one of the most important documents in your career. It’s one of the first things potential employers see about you. Between your resume and your cover letter, a hiring manager will only take a few moments to peruse both documents and make a snap judgment about you. Will they decide to call you in for an interview? Or will you get a generic rejection email to say they’re pursuing other candidates? But if done properly, your cover letter can make all the difference. Here are five common mistakes and how to correct them.

Too long

A long cover letter won’t win you any points, that’s for sure. Hiring managers don’t have time to read your entire life story. Aim for 250 words, around a half-page. The only information you need to include is the job you’re applying for, what makes you qualified to do it, and what else you can do for the company. Other relevant details are already in your resume, so don’t be redundant.

Too formal

Be wary of your word choice and sentence structure. Just tell it like it is. Instead of using monstrous words that sound like you had your thesaurus open the whole time, use simple, unambiguous words that make you seem sincere, friendly, and approachable. Do the same for each sentence you write—no run-on sentences that stretch on and on. By the time your reader gets to the period, they’ll forget what they were even reading about.

Too pretentious

You want your interest to sound sincere, and you want to seem like the type of person that people want to be around and collaborate with. If you say you’re interested in the company, give reasons why. Otherwise, it just seems like you’re telling them what you want to hear. Demonstrate that you understand the company’s mission and what you can do for them. Show that you’ve considered the role already and understand how your skills and experiences would fit into the company.

Too humble

Don’t be self-deprecating. This is your chance to prove your worth. You are the most reliable, most qualified candidate for this position, so build your case. Mention your top accomplishments, including numbers and statistics, to quantify how successful you’ve been.

Too arrogant

Okay, admittedly, there’s a fine line between overly humble and overly arrogant. As you brag about yourself in your cover letter and highlight your accomplishments, make sure you’re stressing how you helped the company or worked as part of a team. If you focus on yourself as an individual, they’ll worry that you’re arrogant and only interested in your own personal successes. Emphasize the great coworkers and managers you’ve been fortunate enough to work and collaborate with.

For more tips on crafting the perfect cover letter, contact PrideStaff St. Pete Clearwater today.

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