A cover letter is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from a stack of similar resumes. But more so, it’s a chance for hiring managers to weed out candidates who show poor judgment. Ask any recruiter or hiring manager – a bad cover letter hurts you more than a great cover letter improves your chances.
Below are the nine most common and detrimental mistakes made by candidates when crafting a cover letter.
It’s Too Long
Length is the first thing recruiters and hiring managers mention when it comes to cover letter errors. Decision-makers don’t have the time or patience to read a novel, said Roy Cohen, a finance-focused career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professionals’ Survival Guide.”
One hiring manager at Barclays said that he spends between 15 and 30 seconds reviewing a cover letter, and will completely ignore those that look are too long. Mostly, he spends the time scanning for obvious errors that help him shorten his stack of applicants.
“People skim cover letters, said Hallie Crawford, an Atlanta-based career coach. “Make your cover letter skimmable.”
A good cover letter should be made up of three fairly short paragraphs, according to experts.
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