Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Hey there, jobseekers! Ready to conquer the world of cover letters? If you’re reading this, you’re already on the right track. A well-crafted cover letter can be your golden ticket to landing that dream job. In this blog post, we’re going to dive into the do’s and don’ts of cover letter writing – and we promise, it’s going to be a fun ride!

Cover Letter Do's and Don'ts

Section 1: Cover Letter Do’s

1. Do: Tailor Your Cover Letter to the Job

Imagine this: You’re at a party, and you want to impress someone. Would you use the same conversation starter for everyone? Of course not! The same goes for cover letters. Tailor your cover letter to the job you’re applying for.

Example: If you’re applying for a marketing position, highlight your marketing skills and experience. Don’t talk about your love for baking unless it’s somehow relevant to the job.

2. Do: Address It to a Specific Person

Dear Hiring Manager, does that sound personal to you? Nope. Address your cover letter to a real person. It shows you’ve done your homework.

Example: Instead of “Dear Hiring Manager,” go for “Dear Ms. Smith.” If you don’t know the name, try “Dear [Company Name] Hiring Team.”

3. Do: Start with a Strong Opening

You’ve got about 10 seconds to grab the recruiter’s attention, so don’t start with a snoozer. Make your opening sentence sizzle.

Example: Instead of “I am writing to apply for the position,” try “As a passionate marketer with a knack for boosting brand visibility…”

4. Do: Showcase Your Achievements and Skills

This is your time to shine! Don’t just list your job history; show them what you’re made of. Talk about your achievements and skills that match the job description.

Example: Instead of saying, “I have experience in marketing,” say “I’ve successfully increased website traffic by 50% through strategic marketing campaigns.”

5. Do: Show Enthusiasm for the Company

Recruiters love candidates who are genuinely excited about the company. Show them you’re not just looking for any job; you want this job.

Example: Mention the company’s recent accomplishments and how they align with your career goals. Be specific and sincere.

6. Do: Keep It Concise and Well-Organized

Recruiters don’t have time to read a novel. Keep your cover letter short and sweet, and use clear headings to organize your thoughts.

Example: Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to make your cover letter easy to skim.

7. Do: Use Keywords from the Job Posting

Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumes and cover letters. To pass the ATS, sprinkle in keywords from the job posting.

Example: If the job posting mentions “social media management,” use that exact phrase if it applies to your experience.

Cover Letter Do's and Don'ts

8. Do: Proofread and Edit Thoroughly

Typos and grammatical errors are like spinach stuck in your teeth during a job interview – embarrassing and avoidable. Proofread your cover letter carefully.

Example: Use online tools like Grammarly, and ask a friend to give it a once-over.

9. Do: Include a Call to Action

Don’t leave the recruiter hanging. End your cover letter with a clear call to action, indicating your eagerness to take the next step.

Example: “I would love the opportunity to discuss how my skills can contribute to [Company Name]’s success. Please contact me at [Your Email] or [Your Phone] to schedule an interview.”

10. Do: Be Authentic and Reflect Your Personality

While professionalism is key, don’t be a robot. Let your personality shine through a bit.

Example: If you’re a fan of the company’s recent charity work, say so. Show them you’re not just a great fit for the job but for the team culture too.

Section 2: Cover Letter Don’ts

1. Don’t: Use a Generic Template

Recruiters can spot a generic cover letter from a mile away. Don’t be that person who sends the same letter to every job.

Example: Avoid using templates like, “I am writing to apply for the [Job Title] at [Company Name].”

2. Don’t: Address It as “To Whom It May Concern”

This is the equivalent of starting a conversation with, “Hey, you!” It’s impersonal and shows you didn’t put in the effort.

Example: Instead of “To Whom It May Concern,” research and find the hiring manager’s name or use “Dear [Company Name] Hiring Team.”

3. Don’t: Begin with a Bland Introduction

Starting with a yawn-inducing sentence won’t make you memorable.

Example: Skip the dull openings like, “I’m writing to express my interest in the position advertised on your website.”

4. Don’t: Reiterate Your Resume

Your cover letter isn’t a duplicate of your CV. It should complement it, not repeat it.

Example: Avoid saying, “As you can see on my resume, I worked at XYZ Company from 2018 to 2020.”

5. Don’t: Focus Solely on Yourself

It’s not all about you. Employers want to know how you can benefit them.

Example: Instead of, “I’m looking for a job where I can grow,” say, “I’m excited to contribute to [Company Name]’s growth.”

6. Don’t: Ramble or Include Irrelevant Information

A cover letter isn’t the place for your life story or unrelated details.

Example: Stay on point, and don’t mention personal hobbies that aren’t relevant to the job.

Cover Letter Do's and Don'ts

7. Don’t: Use Jargon or Overly Complex Language

Big words and jargon can confuse and alienate recruiters. Keep it simple and clear.

Example: Instead of “utilizing synergistic strategies,” say “using effective approaches.”

8. Don’t: Neglect Proofreading

Typos and errors can sabotage your chances. Don’t skip the proofreading step.

Example: Imagine sending a cover letter with “Dear Hiring Manger.” Ouch!

9. Don’t: Sound Desperate or Arrogant

Strike a balance between confidence and humility. Avoid sounding too needy or overly confident.

Example: Instead of, “I desperately need this job,” say, “I’m enthusiastic about joining your team.”

10. Don’t: Forget to Follow Up

Don’t ghost your potential employer. Follow up after submitting your application.

Example: Send a polite email a week or two after applying to express your continued interest.


There you have it, folks! With these do’s and don’ts in your back pocket, you’re well on your way to crafting a cover letter that’ll make recruiters sit up and take notice. Remember, it’s not just about ticking boxes; it’s about making a connection and showing why you’re the perfect fit for the job. So go ahead, write that stellar cover letter and land that dream job! Good luck out there!

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