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Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

Part of the Cover Letters For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The people who read cover letters and resumes oppose goofy grammar, typos, unusual punctuation, and other careless offenses against accepted language methods. You get only one shot to make a first impression, so when you're preparing your cover letter, be meticulous and avoid these common mistakes:

  • Typos and other flubs (such as failing to use capital letters when called for) can send your message straight to the Big Dead Letter Box, including the one in the cyber sky.

  • Writing the wrong tone and style of letter to the right person does you no good. Is your industry or career field casual and breezy or button-down and formal? It makes a difference.

  • Summarizing your resume wastes the readers' time. Add sales sizzle to new information.

  • Canned cover letters — like generic resumes — risk being treated like junk mail.

  • Too many unsupported assertions and victory laps ("exceptional communications skills, outsold the world's workforce") rise to uncertain clouds like hot air balloons. Validate claims with specific facts and numbers.

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