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8 Things You Should Never Say In Your Cover Letter But Probably Have

8 Things You Should Never Say In Your Cover Letter But Probably Have

Even more than your résumé, a cover letter is a chance for you to demonstrate to a company why you are a good fit for them. It gives you the chance to show off your personality, brag a little, and point them to your salient qualifications so that they don’t gloss over the parts of your résumé that are important. Sadly, while writing a cover letter is a great opportunity, it is one that often goes horribly wrong.

The reason the cover letter causes problems for many people is they use one or more of the following phrases which are immediate red flags to any employer and will make them throw your résumé away and leave you jobless for yet another day. If you want to keep yourself out of the “Do not call” pile and land an interview, avoid these common cover letter errors.

“To Whom it May Concern”

Any banal, impersonal greeting is the kiss of death right from the outset. If you are starting a cover letter with this or “Dear Hiring Manager” it looks like a form letter that you just copied and pasted. Address it to a person whenever possible. If no name is given, try doing a little research to find out who their HR manager is. They will admire your pluck and ingenuity. If you can’t find anyone, don’t address it to a person and instead include a formal greeting such as “Good morning” or skip the greeting altogether.

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“I’m a hard worker”

This should only be included if you have never had a job before in your life. Employers all want hard workers, but more than that they want efficient workers, smart workers, intuitive workers, and dynamic workers. They aren’t looking for someone to plod through the day. They want a personality that solves problems, creates solutions, behaves positively, and gets results.

Rather than highlighting that you would make a good drone, give examples of ways you improved companies with which you have worked, added value to a brand, helped your fellow workers, or dazzled your clients.

“Looking for a more challenging position”

This statement makes it sound like the work your are doing is beneath you, which can make you seem arrogant and discontented. An employer wants to hear that you know how to challenge yourself and can expand the reach of your position on your own. They want someone that will be happy with whatever task they have rather than looking for greener pastures.

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“Seeking Advancement”

You don’t even have one job yet and you already want a promotion? Employers want people that are motivated and upwardly mobile but they also want someone who will prove they can do the job they are assigned. Nearly any company has opportunity for advancement. The key is proving that you deserve to be advanced, not telling them they should help you climb the ladder.

“I am perfect for this position”

This is a classic case of “show, don’t tell.” Words are very cheap in cover letters and if you just flagrantly point out that you are the right choice they will almost certainly dismiss you. The reason for this is they do not want to be told how the world is, they want to decide for themselves. Give examples of why you are perfect for the position and get them to make that judgement on their own.

You also come across as cocky if you tell them you are perfect. No one wants to hire a blow hard to work in their office. They want a hard worker who is happy to be there. If you come off as a braggart, expect to go to the bottom of the pile.

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“I don’t have any experience”

You never, ever want to confess that you aren’t well-versed in the functions of a particular job. Even if you don’t even know what the job entails, you should not point out where you are deficient in a cover letter. You might as well say “I know I’m wasting your time but keep reading anyway.” It annoys the hiring manager who has a stack of résumés to go through. The good news is they won’t be reading it much longer, since it will be in the trash.

If you don’t have any experience, just omit that fact and focus on facets of your personality and résumé that are related to the position. Show enthusiasm for the job. For most jobs they will train you to do it anyway so there is no reason to make yourself look weak before they even meet you.

“I have experience”

While you certainly don’t want to say you have no experience, simply stating that you have experience in a field or industry doesn’t say that you were good at it, just that you did it. It’s a generic statement that nearly everyone adds to a cover letter and makes you seem like a dry, dull candidate.

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State what you have done, why you love it, and the ways you made a previous job your own. Be specific about what you have done. Include sales goals you reached, number of people you managed, or how you expanded or streamlined the company. Add as many facts and statistics as possible to show that you aren’t just blowing smoke.

“Thank you for your time”

While it is true that everyone appreciates being thanked, this phrase and those like it take a very passive stance. They are also conclusive making the person reading it feel as if no further action is necessary. They have read your letter and you have thanked them. It is over.

Instead of just thanking them, add something that implies the conversation hasn’t ended yet. Use a phrase such as “I look forward to hearing from you” or “I anticipate your response.” This motivates them to take the next step and puts the ball in their court.

Once you have written a good cover letter, it is time to prepare for your interview.

Featured photo credit: Antonio Litterio via upload.wikimedia.org

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Last Updated on July 10, 2019

10 Great Skills to Include in Your Resume When You Change Careers

10 Great Skills to Include in Your Resume When You Change Careers

So you want to land a new job in a new field? That’s great. But before you start sending out applications left and right, you might want to make sure you have a solid resume first. Your resume will most likely be the first thing a potential employer looks at when evaluating you as a job candidate, and if you want to make a good first impression, having a knock-out resume is key.

Considering how competitive the workforce is now, it’s even more important that you create your best resume. Here are ten skills to include in your resume when you switch careers:

1. Computer/ Tech Skills

As technology continues to evolve, it’s essential that you stay up-to-date with the latest emerging trends. You should have a basic knowledge of social networking sites, computer programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and depending on the job you’re applying for, programs such as Adobe FrameMaker, Photoshop or Madcap Flare.

Take a look at this artice on How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

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And research the required computing skills for the profession that interests you, and then if you aren’t already proficient in them, consider taking online courses via a these sites to learn them.

2. Adaptability

Employers value people who can adapt and go with the flow when they need to. In an environment where things are constantly changing, being flexible can be a tremendous asset. If you’re a flexible person, make it clear through your resume, and if you’re selected for an interview, be prepared to give an example of a time when you showed flexibility.

3. Organization

Nobody wants to hire someone who’s scatterbrained and totally lacking in organizational skills. People who are organized are able to work efficiently because they aren’t constantly searching for important documents they’ve misplaced.

Also, being organized signals to your employer that you can manage your workspace well. If you’ve got a knack for being organized, let it be known through your resume.

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4. Communication

Being able to communicate well with others is definitely a desirable trait in an employee. That means responding promptly to emails, voicing concerns right when they pop up and keeping supervisors and team members in the loop about important information they need to know.

Good communication skills deserve a place on your resume for sure and will go a long way towards making you an attractive job candidate.

5. Leadership

If you know how to step up and be a leader, you have a skill that will wow any employer out there.

Think of a time at your current or previous position when you’ve spearheaded a project, organized an event or rallied everyone together for a certain cause. Any leadership experience or skill that you have needs to be highlighted on your resume.

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6. Work Ethic

Working hard and consistently going above and beyond makes you extremely appealing to employers. It’s impressive when an employee takes initiative and does what needs to be done without having to be asked.

If you are a driven, hard worker who routinely goes the extra mile, make it known on your resume.

7. Dependability

When employers have a task that needs to be done, they need to know that the person they ask is going to follow through and do it. Being a dependable person makes you valuable in the eyes of an employer because they want to hire someone who they can trust to do what they say.

If you’re dependable, be sure to list it as a skill on your resume.

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8. Multi-Tasking Abilities

If you’ve ever taken on two different roles at once or juggled working on two different projects, mention on your resume that you’re an exceptional multi-tasker. Many jobs demand that employees can juggle multiple roles at once, so if you excel at doing so, you’ll have an edge over other candidates who aren’t so good at multi-tasking.

9. Analytical/ Problem- Solving Skills

Are you a pro at analyzing situations and assessing things from all angles? Can you analyze trends affecting performance and solve problems and glitches when they surface? If you have the ability to analyze and solve problems, then you have a skill that’s in high demand.

You can save employers valuable time and money because with you on their team, they won’t have to stall and wait too long for a problem to be solved, and they also won’t have to pay to get someone else involved to fix it. This skill absolutely deserves a place on your resume.

10. Interpersonal “People Skills”

Employers want to hire someone who will be able to get along with all different kinds of people. If you work well with others and know how to make them feel appreciated and valued, especially if you can motivate them and get them to come together and cooperate for the common good, then you have excellent interpersonal “people skills” that make you a great candidate for the job.

In a world where the competition is cutthroat for landing the job you want, you have to do what you can to set yourself apart from the competition. Step up your game by listing the skills you have that employers are looking for on your resume. If you play your cards right, with a little luck, a job offer can be yours!

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Featured photo credit: J. Kelly Brito via unsplash.com

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