You have seen a job advertisement that you would really love to apply for. You have a compelling CV that you are sure will give you a competitive edge.
The challenge now becomes how to draft the perfect cover letter that will complement that CV. A cover letter is supposed to sell your skills and experience to a hiring manager. A good cover letter can be the difference between you being unemployed and landing your dream job. But too often, according to Dan Ochieng, a profesional CV Writer at Jobs Kenya Network, we end up missing opportunities due to mistakes we could have avoided.
Here are cover letter mistakes that you have been making that are costing you golden opportunities.
Cover Letter Mistakes You Have Been Making
1. Weak opening
How you start a cover letter should bring you out as the best. Don’t start splashing the reader with unnecessary greetings.
Also, don’t be too obvious that you bore the reader even before they have time to go through your entire cover letter.
Weak opening: “Please consider me for the Communication job that you have.”
Better opening: “I’m passionate about delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time in the most effective way. I love writing and processing of information.”
Also Read >>> How to write a professional CV in Kenya in 2021
2. Omitting key selling points
A cover letter at all times should position you as the right fit for the job. In fact, it should go beyond what the CV articulates and be a forerunner for your interview.
Good cover letters should emphasize your top accomplishments that are related to the job you are applying.
A good example:
“For the last two years, I have gained skills and successfully executed duties related to both print and electronic media. I have been writing, interviewing, editing and managing social media campaigns among other duties.”
3. Inappropriate salutation
If your cover letter exceeds one page, you may be putting readers to sleep. A great cover letter is concise but compelling, and respects the reader’s time.
On the other hand, they way you start your salutation matters. It can be a turn off for the hiring manager.
Take for example, a lady hiring manager receiving a letter on her desk which has been addressed as ‘Dear Sir’.
4. Wrong format, repetition and being vague
This hinders your chances of getting a job. Stop the use of fancy fonts. Keep it simple. You can use Times New Roman font 12 for clarity.
It should include the date, the recipient’s address and your address.
Read your letter as many times as you can to eliminate repetitions. You can give it to your friend to check and remove such repeated material.
Don’t bring in what is already on the CV in short. The letter only compliments the CV.
5. Grammatical errors and wrong sign-outs
People who handle information as their job such secretaries, journalists and social media communicators are likely to be wiped out from the shortlist when a hiring manager sees a grammatical mistake in their cover letter.
For one, it reflects your carelessness. You couldn’t edit your work and you are applying for an editor assistant post!
Using tags such as “Yours dearest” at the end of your cover letter portrays a lack of professionalism.
Keep it simple and use phrase ‘Sincerely’ followed by your name at the bottom.
For printed letters, it is an official document connecting you to the employer; make sure you sign against it.
Emails, however, can be sent without necessarily being signed; but sign if it is a scanned document.
Whatever you do, before you hit send, always proof read your cover letter to ensure that you have not made any careless mistakes that could cost you a golden opportunity.
If you are struggling to write a CV that meets the standards of the current job market, contact us here for professional CV writing services.
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Tobias is a CV Writer/communications Officer at Jobs Kenya Network. Contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 07 29 735 467