Cover letters tend to make or break your chances of scoring an interview, or even of getting hired. Sure, you might impress the person making the hiring decisions with an embellished resume, however your cover letter is where your true colors come out.
We’ve been taught about the mechanics of a good resume since high school. We know what words to avoid, and what words will captivate our audience.
A cover letter is something many of us didn’t pay attention to, because we all believed a good resume would get us the job. But cover letters tend to tell the employer whether your resume was written by you or by someone else.
They also provide an opportunity for employers to get a sense of your personality and to see your skill set at work.
The moral of the story? Avoid making the horrendous mistakes the following people made when writing their cover letter.
Hopefully these bad cover letter examples will push you in the right direction to help you get the job you want!
I Have Average Skills — Hire Me!
Why would you ever put something about being average in a cover letter? My guess is the resume stated something like “proficient at computers” and now they are clarifying by saying they are average at excel.
Not my idea of a good cover letter. Try to avoid using words describing your skills.
The resume is where your skills are laid out, a cover letter is meant to be a place to sell yourself, not your skills. Unfortunately, this cover letter doesn’t do a good job of this either.
You are supposed to sell yourself, not make yourself out to be an arrogant jerk! Avoid speaking casual in a cover letter — always keep it formal and professional.
Let Me Tell You My Life Story
On average, a cover letter should be no longer than half a page. You need to have room for addresses and salutations at the beginning and then a signature at the end.
Three paragraphs is usually a good length for a cover letter — this guy has clearly gone over board! There is such a thing as over-selling yourself, and this person has given a perfect example of what that looks like.
I’m Probably Not the Person for the Job, but You Should Hire Me
This should probably go without saying, but you should avoid referring to your shortcomings in a cover letter. This person admits that they haven’t read much of the magazine, and they realize they aren’t fully tailored for the job… then why are you even bothering to apply?
Sell yourself! Instead of saying that you aren’t tailored for the job, try explaining what you would bring to the job. Instead of saying you don’t read that magazine much, why not write something about being a well-read individual.
Or, you know, put some time in to actually familiarize yourself with the magazine — this goes for any company you are applying for!