Tag Archives: Resume

Top 10 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

As part of your job search, you have submitted your resume and cover letter to multiple employers. You are sure you have done a great job. I mean, your resume was impressive. The formatting and content were impeccable. You even had your resume reviewed and edited several times by many different people. So you should be expecting a lot of call backs, right? But somehow, you still end up getting responses from a small percentage of employers and now you are wondering if you did something wrong. Have you missed something?

Contrary to many beliefs, a lot of employers do read cover letters and will actually use it to base their decision on whether or not to give you an interview. Thus, having a remarkable cover letter is just as important as having an impressive resume.

Cover Letter Tips

Need help with your cover letter? Below are cover letter mistakes to avoid!

1)      Spelling and grammar errors – Employers tend to view these types of errors as evidence of your carelessness and lack of interest for the position. Have a fresh pair of eyes proofread everything before sending it out to employers.

2)      Bad cover letter format – Bad cover templates fails to include the recipient information, a return address, and the date, all of which a good cover letter format should have.

3)      Not providing concrete examples – When you talk about your skills, back up your statements with examples. For instance, you can back up your statement by referencing a job where you successfully utilized that skill.

4)      Failing to personalize – Instead of simply saying “Dear Sir or Madam,” try to find out the appropriate contact name. If you cannot find a contact name, you can use, “Dear Hiring Manger.” In addition, try to mention the specific job position that you are applying to in your introduction.

5)      Using the same cover letter – Employers can tell if you’re using the same cover letter for every job and company. Make sure you mention the company’s name in the cover letter and address their specific concerns.

6)      Wrong company name – If you are sending the same cover letter to different companies, at least make sure you change the company’s name accordingly! Often times, candidates forget to edit their letters and end up sending their cover letter addressed to the wrong company. This obviously shows the employer that you are not serious about the job position and that you are applying to anything that’s available.

7)      Wrong position – When writing a cover letter, make sure you customize it for the specific position. Make sure you get your facts right.

8)      Too Long – Don’t make your cover letter several pages. Employers are deluged with resumes and cover letters. They don’t have time to read everything so mention only what’s important. A good cover letter is one page, consisting of three or four concise and convincing paragraphs.

9)      Too short – When your cover letter is too short, employers may question your level of interest in the job position. You will also be missing the opportunity to talk about your skills and experiences more in-depth. Cover letters provide a good opportunity to mention additional information that’s not on your resume that you want the employer to know.

10)   Not showing genuine interest – Make sure you express a genuine enthusiasm for the job.

Remember, having a cover letter works to your advantage by providing additional information that employers don’t get from just reading your resume. It gives employers a sense of who you are and what you can do for the company. Now that you know what makes up a bad cover letter, make sure you read the tips on how to make a good cover letter.

To learn more about how to create job landing cover letters, make sure you check out the Amazing Cover Letter Creator.

Summary of Qualifications

How do you make your summary of qualifications in your resume stand out? Think back to the 10 second resume rule, which states that your resume only has 10 seconds to capture the employer’s attention and make the cut for further review or be tossed to the trash.

The summary of qualifications section follows after the appropriate resume headline and is often used in place of an objective statement. This section provides a great marketing tool for selling yourself to the employer by describing why you are the perfect candidate for the job. Use this section to indicate the highlights of your professional or academic career, including your key achievements and skills. You can choose to write the summary of qualifications in a paragraph form or list out about four to five bullets.

What to include in The Summary of Qualifications:

  • Years of experience and areas of expertise within your field
  • Accomplishments in your professional or academic career
  • Awards, certifications or professional training you have received
  • Quantifiable skills, such as sales figures you have helped to generate
  • Soft skills that are difficult to quantify, such as communication skills, quick learner

Since the summary of qualifications is the first section of your resume, it should be strong and convincing. Think of it as an “elevator pitch.” If you met an employer who you wanted to work for in the elevator, what would you say in the brief time that you are in the elevator to convince that person to hire you? What are the most important things you want the employer to know about yourself that will make that person remember you after you leave?

This section does require some thought and revisions until it is compelling and concise with the targeted information. Although it is not easy, take the time to write your qualification summary well so that employers will want to read the rest of your resume!

Purpose of a Resume

Some people have asked, “What is the purpose of a resume?” A resume provides a summary of your skills, accomplishments, and experience. It is not an autobiography but, rather a “snapshot” of all the important aspects that best reflect your qualifications for the particular job you are applying for.

Another purpose of a resume is that it is an important factor in determining whether or not you get a job interview. Although certain job applications do not require you to have a cover letter, having a resume is an essential aspect of the job application. A resume is similar to a sales pitch where you are the product and you are trying to convince the buyer, who is the employer. It is a quick advertisement of who you are and why you should be “bought” or hired.

Aside from using your resume to apply for jobs, resumes are also required for other purposes. For example, a student applying for a scholarship or to graduate school may need to include a resume as part of the application. Knowing the purpose of a resume is important because it will determine how your resume should be structured and written.

The 10 second resume rule

Unfortunately, employers are deluged with resumes and may only spend 10 seconds to glance at each resume. Those 10 seconds could make the difference between whether your resume will be tossed or considered for further review. To pass the initial screening, you want to format your resume in a way that is easy to read with keywords that capture the reader’s attention. This includes using resume action words. All of this is important because, even if you meet all the requirements for a particular job, you need your resume to be presented in a way so that employer knows that you “have what it takes.”

Keep in mind that preparing a good resume usually takes a lot of time and effort. It is recommended that after you finish writing your resume, you get it reviewed at least several times before sending it out to employers. A fresh pair of eyes can be very helpful for finding any grammatical and spelling errors. Once you have a resume, be sure to keep it updated to reflect your newly acquired skills and experience. You never know when you might need it for an unexpected opportunity, so be prepared. After all, one purpose of a resume is to get an interview!