Cover letter errors: Fixable!
It may surprise you to learn that most mistakes in the cover letter that accompanies a resume are made in the address line; and while many professionals spend extra time to revise their cover letter in an effort to make sure it is personalized to the position for which they are applying, they seem to disregard a very important and prominent area of that letter, which is its address line.
This can be very problematic since the address line in a cover letter is the first piece of information a potential employer sees in a resume package.
Think about it in the sense that if mistakes are made in the address line, it is very likely that the potential employer will discard your letter and you will lose an opportunity to be considered a candidate for the job you really want.
However, there is good news: these errors can be avoided, and in the following paragraphs we discuss a few frequently repeated errors, as well as items which should be added, deleted or corrected before that cover letter is sent to a potential employer along with your well-written resume.
To whom the letter is addressed
Not addressing your cover letter to a person is a big mistake in the world of cover letters, as generic greetings such as, “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Human Resources Team,” are not looked upon favorably; and if the job description or posting does not include a contact person, it will be necessary to do a little research and find out who the appropriate contact person is for the job you are seeking. In addition, you must avoid addressing the letter to a job title.
You can call the organization or send an email to the human resource department to find out exactly who the hiring manager or the job recruiter is, and address the cover letter directly to that person. However, if you find it futile or impossible to find out who the appropriate contact is, you should simply take the most recommended course of action by leaving off any kind of generic greetings and simply begin the cover letter.
Spelling of the organization name
Misspelling the name of an organization to which you are applying for a job is really a bit careless and should not happen; but unfortunately is occurs more frequently than you would expect; and even if the cover letter is being addressed to a specific person, it is important (it’s recommended) that the company name and address be still included in the cover letter. So it is a definite plus to always make sure that the company name is spelled correctly.
Hiring managers and recruiters know from experience that misspelling the company name is a common mistake, but they also know that it’s the easiest one to avoid; so triple-check the company name on your cover letter, because if your potential employer receives the letter with an incorrect spelling of his/her company name, your letter will never make it past the first person who receives it.
Let’s face it, an incorrect spelling of a company name, essentially makes that company the wrong addressee, right? Think about it!
Immediately stating your purpose
Make sure your first sentence explain why you are contacting the company, because if it doesn’t the reader might choose not to read any further. This is a common mistake, as many people assume that stating why they’re contacting the company regarding employment is unnecessary because it is already stated on their resume.
However, this is not the case, so let your potential employer know exactly why you are contacting them; and identify the job you are interested in by stating its title, as well as and how your qualifications make you an ideal candidate for it.
Your first statement needs to be straight forward, energetic, and positive; and it should invite the employer to read through your cover letter in its entirety. Keep in mind that bland and generic opening statements will most likely result in disinterest on the part of your potential employer, and your resume will not get pass the first review.
Since the goal of a cover letter is to create interest in your resume and, by extension, in you as a candidate for the available position, to not insure that your cover letter is professional and error-free will defeat your purpose of sending it in the first place.