Having spent adequate time researching and tailoring your CV to the position you are applying for, and the keywords identified from the company’s job description, it comes time to craft the perfect cover letter to get your foot in the door. This is your sales pitch to the company about why you, over all the other equally, and possibly more, qualified candidates deserve this position. What do you have to offer that they don’t? Hitting the sweet spot with your cover letter can be a difficult task, and here are 5 phrases you may be using that are costing you the job.
‘I would very much like to be considered for the position of…’
The company knows that you are interested in this position already, that’s why you are applying! A cover letter is the best chance you have to distinguish yourself from the other applicants, it needs to be short, on-point, and attention grabbing. This couldn’t be more true than in your opening sentence, do you really want to go with something that sounds like it has been copy-pasted from a robot’s cover letter template?
For your opening statement you are much better off showing your interest in the company, and sharing any personal story you may have that ties you to their brand in particular.
‘I was excited to see that a position had opened up in your [X] department. I have followed [company Y] ever since [event Z] and would love the opportunity to show what I could bring to the company.’
‘As referenced on my CV…’
The recruiter has already seen the contents of your CV, there is no need to rehash them in your cover letter. Wasting prime real estate by rehashing information that can already be found in your resume will be a turn off for recruiters, and you want to grab, and keep their attention.
This is your chance to show how your skills, and the experience gained through the positions listed in your CV, can be of value to the company in the role you are applying for.
‘In my position as [X] at [company Y] I applied my skills in [Z] to help bring [value A] which resulted in [success B]. By applying, and adapting what I learned through that experience, and implementing a similar strategy, I could provide great value to the company.’
‘I believe I would be…’
Words like ‘I believe’ or ‘I think’ are very weak, and may make you appear insecure to recruiters. You want to put forth a strong, confident image, and show you mean business.
Remove any opinion words from your cover letter to make you sound more confident. Which sounds better?
‘I believe my experience in [X] would be beneficial in this role’, or, ‘My experience in [X] would be beneficial in this role.’ Hint, it’s the second one.
‘This role could help my career by…’
Your cover letter should never focus on how the company can help you, but rather what you can do for them. The recruiter won’t be interested in how joining the company will be a positive experience for you, and how it will assist your career goals.
Instead, you should focus on what value you are going to bring to the company if they hire you for this position. What can you do for them? Something unique about your set of skills, and experience, that sets you apart from other candidates, and will benefit the company.
‘My years of experience in [X], combined with my skills in [Y & Z], and the passion I have for [A], will help me create [B] that will provide increased [value C] for the company.’
‘I am the ideal candidate for this position…’
I mentioned earlier that you need to exude an air of confidence in your cover letter, and that’s very true. However, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. You are in no position to label yourself the ‘perfect candidate’, and doing so may rub recruiters the wrong way.
Stay away from words like ‘ideal’, ‘perfect’, or ‘best’, and instead make use of words between those and ‘good’, which is on the other end of the spectrum, a very weak descriptive word. Go for adjectives like ‘strong’, ‘outstanding’, or ‘excellent’ when describing your suitability for the position. By doing so you will maintain an air of confidence in your abilities, without coming across as arrogant.
Crafting a strong cover letter is definitely not the simplest thing, however if you avoid the common mistakes mentioned above, and follow our tips, you should be on your way to an interview in no time.