A Little Care and Attention Can Prevent Common Cover-Letter Mistakes


Continuing our series excerpted from our new, free white paper, Cover Letter Reboot: A Crowdsourced Update of Traditional Cover-letter Advice for Today’s Job Search, which you can download here. If you prefer not to download, you can read the contents here. WhitePaperScreenshot.jpg Careful attention to detail can help job-seekers avoid the most common — and disqualifying — cover-letter mistakes.

Most of the cover-letter mistakes hiring decision-makers cited were what you might expect, especially typos, spelling errors, and grammatical flaws. You can see the full list in our sidebar, Hiring Decision-Makers Cite Top Cover-Letter Mistakes that Disqualify Job-Seekers.

But here’s the one that surprised me the most: Almost every hiring decision-maker I talked to cited a scenario in which a job-seeker had written to a specific employer and then, when writing to a different employer, had forgotten to change the name of the employer from the previous letter. Apparently this error is rampant these days. “I receive cover letters all the time that are addressed to someone else,” Smith notes. Not only does it show a lack of time and care spent with the cover letter, but it also shows that job-seekers are doing little to customize their letters for each employer. Can the content of a letter meant for Employer ABC really work for Employer XYZ? Probably not. See also the other parts of the white paper/Cover Letter Reboot package: Cover Letter Wish List: Hiring Decision-Makers Reveal What They Want to See in Cover Letters, Hiring Decision-Makers Cite Top Cover-Letter Mistakes that Disqualify Job-Seekers, and Cover Letters That Wowed: Hiring Decision-Makers Describe Winning Cover Letters.