Ten Don’ts on Your Next Cover Letter

Approaching a cover letter can be a difficult task, especially if you’ve burnt yourself out writing a resume. However, it doesn’t have to be a lengthy, grueling process if you keep these pieces of advice in mind. Here are ten do nots for your next cover letter:

  1. Don’t rehash your entire resume. The point of the cover letter is to act as a supplement to your resume, not to repeat it. Focus on the most relevant skills for the position, and explain why you would be an excellent fit.
  2. Don’t be generic. It’s easy to write a one-size-fits-all cover letter and call it a day, but this will end up hurting you in the long run. Instead, do your homework. Research the company and the position, and target your letter towards those things. Go a step further and try finding the name of the hiring manager. At Career Solutions Group, we always work to target the cover letter towards a particular company, and find the names of decision makers at those companies.
  3. Don’t dwell on your shortcomings. When applying for a position you aren’t completely qualified for, you might be tempted to bring up your weaknesses and then try explaining them away. Don’t do this. Instead, work to highlight your strengths; rather than saying that you’ve never done arctic glacier core extraction, mention that you helped design core extraction tools, or have experience in recording and processing data.
  4. Don’t forget to say what you’re applying for. If you are interested in a particular position, make sure you mention that position. Especially for larger companies that may be looking to fill any number of positions, this will help prevent your documents from being lost in the shuffle.
  5. Don’t go beyond one page. This goes hand in hand with not repeating your entire resume. Your cover letter, though important, needs to be brief. It needs to outline why you’d be a great fit in order to help you land the interview. Try and keep it as concise as possible.
  6. Don’t be afraid of a little bragging. It is difficult to brag about your accomplishments, and our natural inclination is to avoid doing so. But this is a place for you to tell the reader exactly why you are such a great candidate, so don’t be shy! Pretend that you’re writing the letter for someone else, or have a trusted friend read it. If you’re still having trouble, look for someone to write it for you. Career Solutions Group can help you create a cover letter that emphasizes your strengths!
  7. Don’t forget to proofread. Always, always, always double check your spelling and grammar! Nothing will kill your cover letter faster than basic spelling errors; they look sloppy and tell the reader that you didn’t take the time to proofread. Always double check for errors before you send your cover letter.
  8. Don’t forget to be enthusiastic. You want to work for this company, so be excited! Tell them why you want to work for their company, what opportunities they offer that you want to be a part of. At the same time, don’t grovel or resort to flattery; this comes off as tacky rather than excited.
  9. Don’t use lengthy phrasing or superfluous words. Yes, I know I sort of broke this rule in writing it, but this also isn’t a cover letter. Be cautious in your phrasing. A lengthy, novelistic prose is not what you want for a cover letter. Instead, try to maintain a concise, business-like method of writing.
  10. Don’t decide not to write one. We covered this last week, but it bears repeating. The cover letter can seem like a chore, but it is a chore that must be done. Don’t avoid writing a cover letter just because you don’t “need” one; you always need one, no matter the position.


If you are looking for some more cover letter tips, check out the earlier articles from this week! Are you interested in making a career change, but uncertain where to start? Consider emailing us at info@careersolutionsgroup.net. We have proven methods to help you find a fulfilling career.

By: Julia Pillard, Career Solutions Group