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Cover Letters are Really, Really, Really Important

A good cover letter can strengthen your application and help you get to the next stage of the hiring process. A poor cover letter can result in the instant disqualification of your candidacy.

This information may not come as a huge surprise to many jobseekers. Still, up to 80% of the cover letters that pass our desks at Commongood Careers fall prey to common (and easily avoidable) cover letter mistakes.

Some of the worst cover letter offenses include:

1.  The 10-page cover letter. It’s called a cover letter for a reason COVER your application. Save the full-length biography for…well…your full-length biography.

2.  Cut, paste, and repeat. It’s ok to have a template for your cover letter to work from, but remember to customize each letter to reflect your unique interest and qualifications for the position, as well as your connection to the organization’s mission.

3. Sloppy or poor writing style. Your cover letter demonstrates your ability to communicate in writing. If needed, recruit an “editor” friend to ensure that your writing style is cohesive, and your language is elegant.

4. Emoticons. Just don’t do it. Ever.

5. TMI. Mentioning your specific connection to a position or an organization’s mission is great. However, including private information, such as money or marital problems, is not appropriate.

For more how-to advice on this job application staple, read our article Writing a Winning Cover Letter.

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