cover letter

Avoiding Costly Cover Letter Mistakes


Most employers admit they don’t read cover letters, but they say they do prefer candidates who write them, so it’s important to have a good one just in case. A good cover letter should inform the reader about you and interest them into reading your resume or scheduling an interview with you. Here are seven cover letter mistakes that could cost you the job.

Too much about you

Yes, you are an important topic when writing your cover letter, but you should tailor your letter to the specific job you’re applying for. Show them you’re interested in their company and why, and convince them they should hire you!

Too much personal information is also a bust. Don’t bore the reader with your sob story, even if you feel you have a great reason why you’ve been out of work for seven months. Topics like a firing, illness or a death in the family can be a turnoff and will make the reader feel uncomfortable. Focus on your achievements and the job at hand.

Too long

Keep the length to a half page or less. Respect their time—give them relevant facts quickly, there’s no need to tell the tale of your entire career!

Rehashing your resume

Don’t recap the highlights from your resume in your letter—this is a waste of the employer’s time! A cover letter should enhance your resume, not repeat it. Instead focus on your accomplishments and what you can contribute to the company. Offer relevant, specific examples from your previous experiences that show you’re the best candidate.

Too generic

Never use a form letter! The phrase “to whom it might concern” is off-putting and shows you don’t care about the job or know much about the company. Call and find out who is responsible for hiring. Be specific. Customize the letter for the specific job at that particular company. Show them you care enough about the job to do a little research. Mention a fact, recent accomplishment or statistic about them to convey your genuine interest.

Typos and unprofessional tone

Always have at least one person proofread your cover letter. Simple mistakes are enough reason to throw out your application. Don’t use words that sound like you just learned how to use a thesaurus—your manner of speech will show your intelligence more than the number of syllables you use!

Don’t use folksy jargon that will make you seem unprofessional. And don’t try to be funny—remember not everyone will understand your sense of humor. Use a formal greeting and signature with appropriate credentials.

Don’t lie

Be honest and don’t embellish the truth. Don’t risk getting caught and tarnishing your reputation.


You’re in no position to negotiate yet, so immediately requesting a large benefits package will seem arrogant and offensive to any hiring manager.

For more information on cover letters to get you noticed, check out our website at

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Written by

Ty Culver is the Client Development Director of CulverCareers focusing on talent acquisition and workforce solutions with a wide variety of local, national and global clients.

Ty has been working in various aspects of the industry for over 10 years and developed deep expertise in Executive Search, Executive Benefit and Talent Acquisition Programs along the way. He has a range of experience from SMB to Enterprise clients and hyper specific executive searches to high volume recruiting with companies in a dynamic state of flux.

Today, Ty leads a talented team of Talent Acquisition Specialists, Executive Recruiters and Client Success Managers at one of the most respected Recruiting Firms in the Nation, CulverCareers. While leadership is a key aspect of his role, Ty still enjoys working with clients on recruiting strategies, executive benefit solutions and workforce solutions to help clients build a holistic approach to talent acquisition and talent retention.

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