Based on the number of astoundingly bad cover letters most HR folks and recruiters have been forced to experience, it's safe to say most people find these vital job search tools really
really hard to construct.
But you can't just omit them when searching for a coolio new job. Cover letters give you one big shot to showcase the personality that goes along with that piece of paper outlining what skills and accomplishments you bring to the table.
(ahem, that'd be your resume)
But how do you make a good one? One that doesn't serve as lunchtime entertainment for the HR team, making them spray Sprite out their noses as they read excerpts from your cover letter aloud?
Avoid these common pitfalls:
- Dear Sir/Madam.Um, Dear Lazy... go find a name and address it to an actual person. Who's the hiring manager? The head of HR? The chief recruiter? I know you can do this. Google. It's a miracle, I promise.
- Heretofore, Henceforth, Thusly... A cover letter is not a legal briefing, a contract or any kind of law document. Please don't write it as such. Another human, who talks in regular conversations and such, will be on the receiving end of that letter. Conversational, professional writing style is totally cool. Big, stupid words will not serve to impress.
- I'm quiet interested in you're company... My interest is so huge, in fact, that it made me completely forget to review this super important cover letter for basic grammatical and spelling errors. No need to interview me after all.
- Does this look like a page out of your old college textbook?... I figured it might. I actually grabbed a cover letter template right out of my Business Writing 201 book from 1998. Pretty nifty, huh?
- Allow me to rehash my entire resume... You are giving the potential employer the resume, too, right? Yes, so no need to blather on about every last detail all over again. Again, show them WHO YOU ARE on the cover letter.
- Thanks for the consideration. Now go ahead and figure out how to contact me ... Did you want a callback? Yes, so best to actually put CONTACT INFO on the actual cover letter. Just a thought.
I could go on, but I shall not. I'd love your bad cover letter examples and questions.
And if you're scared you're handing out the cover letter that makes HR people laugh (or cry?)