Common Mistakes in Cover Letter and Resume Writing |
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Common Mistakes in Cover Letter and Resume Writing

The cover letter and resume provide crucial first impressions for potential employers and will play a crucial role in helping to decide whether or not an applicant gets an interview. Common writing mistakes can be avoided with some recommendations from Employment Authority. The best salutation for a cover letter is addressed to a specific person. Hiring managers want to know an applicant demonstrates attention to detail by researching the correct company contacts and by presenting a flawless document. The best choice is to cleanly type both documents using the same conservative font and printing them on high quality stationary with matching envelopes. Inappropriate, unnecessary, and unprofessional details should be avoided. Another common error is wordiness. Employers want to scan a resume and get the basic details quickly. Concise writing is easier to scan and therefore has better results. The most common problem hiring managers see is a lack of proofreading. If a resume and cover letter are submitted with even one or two errors it could mean the applicant is not considered.

When looking for a job, the main tools are the cover letter and resume. These documents give a first impression of an individual to possible employers. Based upon a resume and cover letter, an employer will decide to call in an applicant for an interview.

Unfortunately, many people ruin their chances of getting a desirable job because they commit some very common mistakes when preparing for an interview. Below are common mistakes of writing resumes and cover letters, and solutions for how to effectively avoid them.

The Salutation of the Cover Letter

A salutation is best when addressed to a specific person. There are two common problems hiring managers encounter in salutations. One is the infamous opener: ''Dear Sir or Madam'' or ''To Whom it May Concern.'' The other is using the wrong name. Hiring managers want to know that an applicant has done his homework. This shows that he is truly interested in the job, and didn’t mail identical copies of his information to every possible job opening. When a generic salutation is used, it shows that the applicant didn’t bother to look up the company’s name or pick up the phone and ask the receptionist.

If the name is wrong, the applicant is either sending the same message as mentioned above, or he is demonstrating a lack of attention to details. The latter is also not desirable to hiring managers.

The easiest way to combat this problem is by calling the company, asking for the name of the hiring manager, spelling it back to the person on the phone for accuracy, and proofreading before dropping the cover letter in the mailbox.

The Presentation

Although the modern age has provided more options for sending cover letters and resumes to prospective employers, caution still needs to be taken when deciding how to send your cover letter and resume to employers.

Some job seekers have sent their resumes and cover letters via email. Others have faxed over their documents. Both of these are mistakes. Emails and faxes will not always ensure the information reaches the right person. In addition, an applicant will not be able to present his or her resume and cover letter in a way that will truly ''wow'' potential employers.

The best advice is to choose high-quality stationery. A selection is found at most office supply stores and through online vendors. White, cream, ivory, and even light gray are all appropriate colors for your job search materials. Make sure to choose matching envelopes as well. Of course, the paper is only part of the presentation.

Resumes and cover letters should be typed, not hand written, and printed on a high-quality printer. Do not send out materials that show a printer is running low on ink.

When typing a resume and cover letter, be sure to use a conservative font, such as Arial, Courier New, or Times New Roman. Avoid any fonts that are too flowery or that are difficult to read. Employers will not be happy to see your creative font choices if they are difficult to read. Stick to the same type of font for both the resume and cover letter. Also, use black print. Colorful fonts only detracts from your content.

Inappropriate Information

Although resumes and cover letters need to include a good amount of information so possible employers can make a decision about an applicant’s credentials, unnecessary and unprofessional details should be avoided. For example, hobbies should not be listed on a resume. While stamp collecting may seem exciting, a future employer does not need this information. This appears that an applicant does not know what information to provide in a professional resume. It may also seem as if an applicant is padding his resume because he lacks sufficient credentials.

Another item, which should not be included, is any personal information. An employer does not need to know how many children someone has or how long he has been married.


Wordiness plagues resumes and cover letters. Some job seekers simply do not understand how to word their documents concisely. Instead of writing, ''I have a long and diverse work history,'' they write, ''During my lengthy career in this industry, I have been privileged to hold a wide variety of positions for a larger number of companies.''

Employers do not want to spend extra time reading content. They want to scan a resume and get basic details and facts. When writing in a wordy manner, the employer has a difficult time getting to the meat of a cover letter or resume. Concise writing is easier to scan and, therefore, has better results.


The most common problem hiring managers see in cover letters and resumes is a lack of proofreading. Even the best typist or writer can make mistakes. Editing is crucial! If a resume and cover letter are submitted with one or two errors, the applicant is usually not considered for the position. If materials are full of these errors and end up before a hiring manager, they are thrown in the garbage. Always take the time to proofread.

For more information on how to make your resume and cover letter stand out, contact Employment Authority today!

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"Show us you are alive! We want to hear your thoughts. Please comment on this article (below)!"

I want to make sure that it is very important to see whether or not his is something that is going to improve in many way.

Posted by: pradeep

Just a note that you should have proofread this article, which mentions typos repeatedly, contains the statement "Colorful fonts only detracts from your content." It should be Colorful fonts only DETRACT [not DETRACTS] from your content.

Posted by: Ann Rogers

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