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4 Things You Should Never Include on Your Cover Letter

Cover letters aren’t quite as crucial to your job search as your resume. But they still have a huge part to play. They form that all-important first impression on the recruiters you reach out to, filling in some of the gaps in your resume and expanding on it. This all helps to paint a fuller, more detailed picture of who you are, and what you have to offer.

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That’s why you must dedicate just as much time and energy to writing strong cover letters as you put into your resume. Some jobseekers even work with professional cover letter writing services in Denver to ensure their letters are as effective and impactful as possible. But, if you prefer to write it alone, there are a few things you should never include.

This guide lists four examples of major cover letter no-no’s, along with some tips and tricks to make your cover letters the best they can be.

Explaining Why You Were Fired/Quit Your Last Job

It’s normal and expected to discuss your former employment – especially your most recent role – in your cover letter. You might talk about duties you had, for example, if they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for. Or you could list some of the best things you achieved at your previous business, highlighting the positive impact you had. Also research some great cover letter examples online to compare what you wrote vs what an expert writer creates.

But there’s one topic to steer clear of, and that’s the reason you left. It doesn’t matter whether you were fired or decided to quit, there’s no need to discuss that in your cover letter. It takes up space and may produce more questions than answers for the recruiter. It’s much better to wait and discuss the circumstances of your departure in an interview phase instead.

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Money Talk and Salary Expectations

There are certain key elements every cover letter should contain and subjects it should discuss. Money isn’t one of them. Yes, money is, of course, a major motivating factor for almost everyone when it comes to applying for jobs, and salary is certainly something you’ll want to find out about before signing a contract or joining a company.

But, when it comes to your cover letter, it’s best to leave money out of it. If you add in your salary expectations or bring up what you were earning at the last job, it tends to produce a bad impression. It suggests that money is your sole motivator. Recruiters rarely like to see that. They’d rather see a candidate who demonstrates passion and interest in the work itself, not just the reward.

Negative Comments About Your Past Experiences

Cover letters should be positive documents. They should focus on all your main selling points, the positive elements of your work, your skills, and your personality that make you the perfect fit for the role in question. There’s no room for negativity in a letter like this and being negative – especially about former bosses – can be a serious red flag in the eyes of a recruiter.

Even if you had a negative or unpleasant experience at your last job, the cover letter isn’t the place to bring it up. You could talk about that in an interview if asked. But, on a cover letter, it simply looks irrelevant and unnecessary. To some, it even suggests certain negative characteristics on your part, like a lack of professionalism.

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Incorrect or Irrelevant Information

Just like your resume, your cover letter should be accurate, honest, and grammatically sound. It should be free of any errors or untruths. Even simple errors, like typos, are enough to put off some recruiters – 61% say they’ll dismiss a cover letter instantly if they see a typo in the letter or resume – as it shows a lack of care.

Similarly, recruiters won’t be impressed by any irrelevant data in your letter that has nothing to do with the role you’re applying for. That’s why it’s always best to tailor every letter you write to suit the job you’re going for. Make every sentence relevant to the role in question and cut anything that’s not.

Useful Tips for Writing Cover Letters

To make your cover letter the best it can be, you should:

  • Always proofread: Double-check every cover letter you send out for any little typos or grammatical inconsistencies you might not have noticed the first time around.

  • Be positive: Tone-wise, be upbeat in your cover letter text. It’s the best way to sell yourself and form an instant positive impression.

  • Keep it brief: 82% of HR pros prefer letters that are one page, max, or even half a page. So, try to keep yours concise.

  • Don’t be generic: Generic statements, platitudes, buzzwords – all big no-no's in a cover letter. Be detailed and personal. Tell your story.

  • Use a good font: Don’t try dressing up your letter with a fancy font. Keep it simple. Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial are all fine, readable choices.

  • Do your research: Look up the companies you’re applying to and learn about them – their history and philosophy – to inform your cover letter content.

  • Use the pros: Ultimately, the pros know how to write the most compelling cover letters. Consider using Google and research "resume and cover letter services near me" if you’re struggling to get positive responses.

Craft Your Cover Letters with Care

In general, it’s almost always best to include a cover letter with your application, unless the employer tells you not to. A well-crafted letter is the perfect complement to your resume. Sometimes, it’s even the difference between getting an interview or falling at the first hurdle, and many recruiters favor applicants who write good quality cover letters over those who skip them.

Quality” is the keyword there. Bland, boring, and irrelevant cover letters bring almost no value to your application. In fact, that could do more harm than good. So, take your time. Craft your letter with care and concentration, avoiding all the pitfalls listed above. If you can manage that, you’ll have a much stronger chance of getting any job you want.

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