One must never forget the important end-user while applying to jobs online.
Who is this end-user?
The human being who will hire you.
If you forget about this person, whether it happens to be a hiring manager or the head of the company, your job search will be longer and more frustrating.
Never forget about the people reading your cover letters, no matter how many applications you have already submitted in your search for a job.
When you start venting your frustrations in applications, you'll end up regretting it.
Read on for real-life examples of the worst things people said in cover letters.
Worst thing #1: Keeping it real
This person obviously thought the actions of being direct, honest, and upfront would work in their favor. However, they failed to consider their statement from the perspective of the hiring manager.
Imagine going through the process of trying to hire an employee, and coming across this brief and unimpressive statement.
Would you appreciate the attempt to keep it real?
Cover letter text
“I really need a job.”
Of course, this person needs a job ... but so do the other 100 candidates who applied to the same position.
This is merely stating the obvious.
Whenever you are filling out a job application and drafting a cover letter, put yourself in the place of the hiring manager.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What soft skills are involved in this position?
- Will I be working in a team with others?
- What kind of personality might they be looking for?
Use these considerations as you craft your personalized cover letter.
The job applicant in the above example failed to mention two important things:
- What was requested in the job listing.
- Why they would be a great fit.
Always include those vital elements in your cover letter.
Worst thing #2: Digital screaming
The idea of typing in all capital letters has looked like yelling ever since the telegraph became obsolete as a communication tool.
The only time you will see all capital letters today is either in a shocking news headline or when someone is angrily sending a message.
So, you can imagine why all caps does not belong in a cover letter to express your desire to work for a company.
Cover letter text
“I POSESS ALL THE SKILLS REQUIRED FOR THIS POSITION EXCEPT I DO NOT HAVE FAST TYPING SKILLS!”
Such a cover letter leaves a company wondering if this person possesses the communication skills to work in an online environment.
When writing your cover letter, here are related guidelines to keep in mind:
Proofread and edit your cover letter.
Print it out and read every word out loud.
If possible, get someone else to proofread it as well.
That second set of eyes can catch things you missed.
Vary your sentence lengths.
- Use some short sentences.
- Then also add in some longer sentences from time to time.
This will keep your reader from suffering from the reader fatigue that comes from too many sentences that are the exact same length.
Avoid distracting punctuation.
- Don't use exclamation points!
- Also, stay away from too many colons or semicolons.
- Stick to periods, period.
Similar to using caps, exclamation points make it look like you're shouting on paper; it can come across as aggressive.
Worst thing #3: Cover letters written by trolls
Not much needs to be said about this cover letter below.
It is either a troll seeking to cause a reaction or a person who really needs a job and used the opportunity to express disgust in the salary.
Neither of these is a productive way to search for jobs online.
In fact, it only makes the entire process more difficult for everyone who is seriously seeking work.
Cover letter text
“Wow! You pay nothing.”
The job description for this post makes mention of people working in a startup environment, and therefore not able to offer a competitive salary.
The job applicant may be looking for a well-paying job that offers benefits.
Regardless, he or she will not find that job with a pure focus on salary.
- There is a time to discuss salary.
- That time is not in the cover letter.
Usually, you won't mention salary until the end of a positive interview, and even then, you will want to wait until the hiring manager brings it up.
As the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.”
At the end of the day
What was the grand mistake each of these job seekers made?
They had lost sight of the human factor involved in looking for work online.
Even if the job application process seems cold and unfeeling, there is still a person on the other side of the screen trying to find the best job candidate.
Online job applications should be treated like two people trying to connect with one another in a professional and polite manner.
Here are the main things you want to accomplish with your cover letter:
- Introduce yourself and the position you are seeking.
- Demonstrate your relevant experience and skills.
- Connect the dots as to why you are an ideal candidate for the position.
- Mention your resume for more information.
- Close with a call to action such as a request for an interview.
Just as with your resume, try to keep your cover letter to a single page.
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