4 MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN APPLYING FOR JOBS
Whether you’re just starting out at Salter or you’re about to graduate, you probably have one thing on your mind: landing that first professional job.
Obviously, you know that you’ll need a résumé that highlights with your new skill set as a professional medical assistant, health claims specialist, massage therapist, or pharmacy technician.
But there’s something else that you’ll need that’s nearly as important as your resume: a great cover letter.
Why do you need a cover letter if you’re already sending a résumé? Because a cover letter allows you to introduce yourself to an employer and explain why you are an excellent candidate for the position they’re hiring for.
With that in mind, it’s important that your cover letter does its intended job, rather than distracting from your qualifications.
Here are four mistakes to avoid when writing your cover letter.
1. Using the same letter over and over
If you’re applying to a several different employers, be sure to personalize each cover letter.
Try to find out who the hiring manager is and direct the letter specifically to that person and not “To whom it may concern.” Consider calling the company if the job ad doesn’t list a specific name.
Then it’s important to remember that you’re not applying for just a job, you are applying for a specific job at a specific company. Go through your letter and customize it to address the job requirements that are noted in the job listing. Do this for each and every position you apply for.
2. Not fixing errors
Spelling errors and typos can land your application in the “no” pile.
Don’t rely on spell check to catch every mistake. Take some time to carefully read over your cover letter. Looked for dropped or repeated words, as well as words that may appear correct in spell check, but that don’t make sense in context. (For example, “from” and “form.”)
Try reading your cover letter out loud. That can be an effective way to spot errors that you might have missed earlier.
Finally, have someone else proofread your document. As any professional writer will tell you, it’s extremely difficult to proofread your own work. Another set of eyes can help you catch mistakes before your letter is in front of a potential employer.
3. Getting off track
Keep in mind that many people are probably applying for the same job that you’re trying to get.
Managers are busy and they probably want to sort through applications quickly.
While it’s OK to mention accomplishments and personal characteristics that may pertain to the job – and your cover letter is certainly the place to do that -- be sure that what you include is relevant to the job listing.
Consider using bullet points instead of paragraphs. Bullet points are easier to read and will help the manager get through your letter faster.
4. Making the manager work too hard
Your goal is to land an interview, right? Then make it easy for people to contact you.
Include your phone number and email address in your cover letter after your signature. That way the hiring manager doesn’t have to re-open your résumé in order to contact you.
Need additional help with your cover letter? Remember, Career Services is there to help you get ready for your professional job hunt. Be sure to make an appointment with a specialist at one of our campuses in Fall River, Tewksbury, Malden, or New Bedford.