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Do You Make These Cover Letter Mistakes?

Does your cover letter scream unprofessional?

As a recruiter, CareerHubAfrica receives hundreds of job applications on a daily basis. We come across different types of cover letters, some are fantastic and give clear description of an applicant’s qualification for the job. Some are just good enough while others are just so awful that you begin to imagine if the applicant is really ready to be hired.

Here are typical examples of badly written CVs:

Sample 1

I hereby apply for the post of a graduate trainee in your organisation.
I have a in marine engineering and a certificate in accounting from Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria(ICAN) and have six years of experience.
Kindly find attached a copy of my CV for your scrutiny.

Sample 2

Subject: CV


Sorry for sending this unsolicited CV / mail. I got your email address on the internet. Please see hereunder my CV. please help me get any engineering position in your Company, client, or a friend’s Company. I have over 7 years experience.

Many thanks.

Sample 3

Good morning,

Please find attached my CV as I will like to apply for the position stated above.

Thank you

The first cover letter sample shows an applicant who obviously has 6 years applying for a graduate trainee position. What is someone with these number of experience doing applying for an entry level job?

The second one is just something else! Different font style and size, informal salutation, wrong choice of words and the applicant seemed like he wasn’t sure what he wanted.

The third sample shows an applicant who sent a cover letter that looks like he is shoving the CV to your face like ‘here is my CV give me job!”

You might think that employers and recruiters do not read or pay attention to cover letters, but many of them actually do.

Jobseekers constantly lose their chances at getting hired right from the very first application they send out. This is mostly as a result of terrible cover letters and CVs. Your cover letter is supposed to showcase your best qualifications and highlight your strengths in a short and concise manner.

Here are 5 cover letter mistakes you are probably making and how to avoid them:

Using the Wrong Format for Your Cover Letter

Most cover letters we receive are more like a cut-and-paste email than of a business letter. No recipient information, no address, no date not even a proper salutation.

Your cover letter should follow the format of a formal business letter. It should be written in a paragraph form and must include a formal salutation, a closing and a signature. Make sure your letter is targeted and tailored to match the position you are applying for. It should show how qualified you are for the job. Each cover letter you write should have its own uniqueness, something that makes it stand out from the rest.

Not Sending a Cover Letter at All

Some job seekers don’t even bother sending a cover letter when they apply for jobs. Others type up a one or two-sentence and attach their CV to it. (Just like the sample above)

When sending a job application, you must include a well-written, neatly formatted cover letter accompanied by your CV.

Typos and grammatical errors

Too many grammatical errors and misspellings can prevent you from landing an interview. Recruiters do not have the patience and time to go through a badly written cover letter filled with errors, those kinds of letters end up in the recycle bin. Therefore it is important that after writing your letter, you go through it again and again for errors. You could also get a second eye to look at it before sending it out.

Overhyping your skills

Too many cover letters sing praises of an applicant’s skills and accomplishments which are sometimes not even true. Make sure you back up your claims with evidence and examples, and if they are too long, showcase them in your CV.

Lengthy letters

A good cover letter should not be longer than one page. Employers/recruiters are overwhelmed with too many CVs and cover letters and do not have the time to read your ‘long novel’. So make sure your cover letter is short and precise, avoid writing your career story on your cover letter (that is what your CV is meant for).

Make an effort to stand out from other job seekers!


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