Avoid cover letter missteps by noting these five things you should never do:
1. Never settle for generic.
Don’t send a cover letter just for the sake of including one—make your words count! Consider the cover letter a prime opportunity to sell yourself. The last thing you want to come off as is uninspired or lazy. Use keywords from the job posting to paint a vivid picture of why you’re the perfect candidate for this position, not just any old job. Yes, such individualization takes time, but remember your goal is to land a great new role, not to see how many applications you can complete.
2. Never start your letter with “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir.”
On a similar note, realize that the lack of a proper salutation can get your interaction with a prospective employer off on the wrong foot.
“The biggest misstep I find people make is not addressing the cover letter to a real person,” says Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet. “It is almost always possible to find the name of a person who works in HR or who would be your potential boss by using LinkedIn or the company website. Personalization is so important in all of your communications, including in a cover letter.”