A long essay, a vomited resume and no focal point are just three of the mistakes employers see job seekers make every day with their cover letters.
And while you may spend less time on it than on your resume, a cover letter can be the difference between getting a job interview and passing.
Speak to the job website Search, the founder and advisor to recruitment company Milkshake Group Sian Havard, shared the five things she would like to say about cover letters – and how to improve yours now.
A long essay, a vomited resume and no focal point are just three of the mistakes employers see job seekers every day with their cover letters (stock image)
1. Make sure you have a cover letter
It may not be the first thing many employers look at, but if you don’t have a cover letter, you will be disadvantaged right away.
“All employers and recruiters ask for different things in their application processes, but you are generally expected to include a short, relevant cover letter,” Sian told the publication.
Failure to do so will likely ignore your application, she added.
Many companies do their cover letters in various forms, so the recruiting expert recommends taking the time to review the job specifications to see if it says your letter should be as a Word document or just in the body of your email added.
Make sure it is well written and has no spelling or grammatical errors.
That way you know you’re on the right track.
2. Keep it short
Sian explained that there is nothing worse than too long a cover letter, only showing that the job seeker did not know what to include and what to leave out.
“Any email or attachment you send to a company you want to work on shows how you can communicate with people inside and outside the company when you worked there,” she said.
Therefore, if you are tedious, you immediately show that you are not an effective communicator.
The general rule of thumb is four or five short paragraphs and never more than one page.
If you find yourself writing more when applying for a job, just cut back.
A leading recruiter said the most important thing is getting to the point of your cover letter, knowing who you’re talking to, and addressing them accordingly (stock image)
3. Get to the point
In the same vein as to keep it short, it is vital to reach the point of your cover letter sooner rather than later.
Sian said that the opening sentence of your cover letter should include both your goal and your ‘most recent qualifications’ so that the employer knows where they are with you.
Leave the least important filler content to the end, and even with that, wonder if it’s really necessary to include it at all.
4. Do not rinse your CV
One of the biggest mistakes many people are guilty of covering letters is rerouting their resume – in other words.
“Include things like how you got to know the job, why you’re interested in applying, and any relevant understanding you have about the job and the company,” Sian said.
It should never repeat content from your resume.
5. Know who you are talking to
Finally, the job expert said that a cover letter is not good unless you know who you are talking to – and target it accordingly.
They should always be addressed to that person, and if you are just unsure, it is best to keep it formal and write “Who it is”.
Most people don’t like being addressed by the company name, so try to make your application as personal as possible.
Career and LinkedIn expert Sue Ellson (pictured) said that some of the major mistakes to avoid include a cover letter discussing job keywords, but a resume that doesn’t include any of them
What is the best thing to include in your CV?
List all types of education – high school, tertiary study, online courses, diplomas, certificates, apprenticeships
View relevant training, institution, and year of completion for each course completed
Mention all previous job titles, involved tasks and expertise
Change your resume for each job and relate your responsibilities and experiences to the advertised position
Share your important achievements well
Write a brief summary explaining career goals and value to the organization
Highlight core skills clearly by using bullets
List the most recent and relevant function to demonstrate skills and knowledge
List your interests and hobbies
Provide a good summary to show the experience
Previously spoken to FEMAIL, career specialist and LinkedIn expert Sue Ellson revealed her steps to write the perfect resume – and the main mistakes to avoid.
“So often, people will write a cover letter that perfectly matches the job description and then don’t include any of those keywords in their resume,” she told Daily Mail Australia.
“This means that when a job system scans the content, it doesn’t find keywords it’s looking for.”
Sue said other common mistakes are spelling mistakes and poor formatting that look sloppy.
“It’s not uncommon for people to exclude their email address and phone number from their resume, which should be avoided,” she added.
“I would also like to add that a custom LinkedIn URL should also be included so that employers can view your job history.”
For those who want to use the isolation period during the coronavirus pandemic as a time to update their resume, Sue recommends checking your previous jobs, experiences, skills, achievements, volunteering (if any), interests and how the employer can contact you record.
“Performance should describe your value in terms that the employer understands, so when you switch careers, focus on your transferable skills and document your other skills,” said Sue.
You should also take the time to practice writing the perfect cover letter and also update your LinkedIn profile to make it relevant to your experience.
A good cover letter should primarily outline and summarize your resume and why you are best suited to the available position.
For more information about Sue Ellson, click here.