The covering letter is vital to your Resume. This is why it is the first page and not an addition. "Please find enclosed my Resume" won't get you very far.
Your covering letter demonstrates your writing style better than your Resume (which is usually more brief and factual).
The covering letter puts flesh on the bare bones of the Resume. It points out to the employer the information showing that you have the qualities the job calls for, and makes a statement about yourself and your suitability for the job. It should give the personal touch that your Resume will intrinsically lack.
10 Cover Letter mistakes, that wont get you an interview!
1. Failing to personalize. Avoid saying, "Dear Sir or Madam" and take the initiative to find out the appropriate contact name. Often a quick phone call to the company can help you fill in the blank. You'll show that you're resourceful and truly interested in the job.
2. Starting off weak. Your opening paragraph should capture the reader's attention. So, rather than simply saying, "I am applying for the receptionist position posted at AnytownPaper.com," follow up with, "Your need for an experienced professional is a good match for my five years of experience in publishing and extensive background as a receptionist. "If you've been referred to the hiring manager, be sure to point out the mutual contact in your lead. This may encourage the person to read further.
3. Making it too short/long. E-mailed cover letters should be included within the body of the e-mail and be limited to two paragraphs, while those faxed or mailed should be three to five paragraphs.
4. Being generic. Don't send the same cover letter to all companies. Take the time to do some basic research of prospective employers so you can customize them. In a survey by our company, only 44 percent of executives polled said it's common for applicants to use their cover letters to show they've learned more about the job; so if you make the effort, you'll already be ahead of half your competition.
5. Rehashing the resume. Instead, focus on aspects of your background that relate directly to the job opportunity and note any relevant accomplishments, training, classes or certifications. The cover letter also allows you to explain anything that might be unclear or questionable on your resume, such as a gap in employment or change in career paths.
6. Underselling your talents. Give hiring managers a compelling reason to call you in for an interview. Instead of saying you have strong communication skills, provide examples: "I recently led a training session on a new database application and received significant praise for my ability to relay complex information to a non-tech-oriented audience."
7. Trying to be witty or humorous. This can backfire, so it's best to stick with a business letter format, even with e-mailed cover letters. A professional yet conversational tone and salutations such as "Mr." and "Ms." will help you be taken seriously.
8. Focusing too much on yourself. While you want to sell your qualifications, don't forget to explain how you would add value to the company. If your cover letter is dominated with "I," chances are you need to focus more of your content on the prospective employer.
9. Omitting contact information. It's easy for cover letters and resumes to become separated, so make sure hiring managers can reach you should they only have your cover letter. Close your letter by mentioning that you'll call the individual soon to follow up and include a current phone number and e-mail address where you can be reached should the person want to contact you first.
10. Failing to proofread. As qualified as you may be for the opening, you're likely to fall out of contention if your cover letter is full of typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. Ask friends and family to review your document to make sure there are no mistakes. The following examples from real cover letters prove just how important this can be: "I'm attacking my resume for you to review." "I prefer a fast-paste environment." "I never take anything for granite
Great example of a Bad Cover Letter
Hilarious Resume and Cover Letter Mistakes
- Candidate wrote résumé as a play – Act 1, Act 2, etc.
- Woman who sent her résumé and cover letter without deleting someone else's editing, including such comments as "I don't think you want to say this about yourself here."
- One applicant used colored paper and drew glitter designs around the border on her résumé.
- One of a candidate's achievements: "Nominated for prom queen."
- The candidate mentioned winning a contest for building toothpick bridges in middle school.
- Candidate's cover letter talked about her family being in the mob.
- Candidate specified that her résumé was set up to be sung to the tune of "The Brady Bunch."
- Candidate claimed to be able to speak "Antarctican" when applying for a job to work in Antarctica.
- Candidate addressed cover letter to "Dear Sir or Madman."
- Sales candidate wrote, ""I consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts."
- Email from a candidate said, "I'm attacking my resume for you to review."
- Applicant listed "Career break in 1999 to renovate my horse."
- Languages listed on one résumé: "Speak English and Spinach."
- On the application, one person answered "Why are you interested in this position?" with "To keep my parole officer from putting me back in jail."
- Candidate explained an arrest by stating "We stole a pig, but it was a really small pig."
- Applicant's résumé was written in Klingon language from Star Trek.
- On one résumé, the "Skills" section was spelled "Skelze."
- One résumé listed the candidate's online video gaming experience leading warrior "clans," suggesting this passed for leadership experience.
- One candidate bragged he "received a plague for Salesperson of the Year."
- Candidate's résumé included time spent in jail for assaulting a former boss.