Cover Letter Essentials

5 cover letter blunders that could cost you a job

27/03/2014BY: Tracey Mesken

​Are cover letters still relevant in the job application process? The answer is a resounding “yes”. Whilst employers may have changed the way they filter candidates, your cover letter can still be an essential part of getting your foot in the door when applying for any job.It is the first opportunity you have to makes a strong, upfront and specific case for why you are the best fit for a position, so it's worth taking the time to get them right.

Here are five of the most common mistakes people make when writing a cover letter that might just cost you your dream job.

1. Leaving out the company name or job reference

Failing to quote the job title or job reference in your cover letter suggests an inability to follow instructions, and can often result in your application not being processed. When writing out multiple job applications, candidates often send through applications addressed to the wrong employer – so also make sure to check that all details are correct before sending!

2. Being too casual

To make sure that your cover letter hits the right note, you need to use the right style, tone and language. Firstly, be sure to use a formal greeting when addressing your Cover Letter. For the main body, you should certainly feel free to show a little personality and your enthusiasm for the role, but always be professional and concise.

3. Failing to cross your t's

Attention to detail is incredibly important when writing a cover letter. Always take the time to triple check your cover letter and go through it with a fine toothed comb for accuracy of names, job titles, spelling, grammar and punctuation.

4. Forgetting to add context

Expressing your skills and capabilities without any context, will generally not convince employers about your suitability for the job. Back up your statements by referencing a job or role where you successfully employed that strength.Example A - "I have leadership experience and have had notable success in my past roles."
Example B - "I worked at the Industroplex Company as a general manager for 3 years. While there, I improved operating efficiency in my department by 21 per cent."

5. Using an old cover letter

Each cover letter you write should be unique and written for the specific role for which you are applying. That means not reusing the same cover letter from application to application and keeping the content relevant.Also keep your cover letter up-to-date. If you haven’t updated your cover letter in the past year or when your responsibilities or qualifications changed, it's very important that you update it before you apply for your next job. An out-of-date cover letter suggests indifference or lack of attention to detail.