A perfect resume is often ruined with a poorly thought out and mistake-heavy cover letter. Whether you are adding your cover letter to your application package as per required submission guidelines, or you simply want to show that you are committed to getting the job, make sure that you avoid making these seven cover letter blunders. (For more, see 10 Resume Red Flags.)

IN PICTURES: 7 Interview Don'ts

  1. Incorrect Company Name
    Although you are probably applying to a number of different jobs in your search, you don't have to share this information with recruiters. The most common way that job seekers divulge this information accidentally is by putting the wrong company name or position on their cover letter, or forgetting to change it from the last job you applied for. This common mistake is probably the surest way to not get the interview.

  2. Unreasonable Length
    Keep you cover letter at a reasonable length. Although you may have much useful information to offer, keep in mind that recruiters will often go through hundreds of applications. They simply do not have time to read through a three page cover letter, even if all of the presented information is important. The absolute maximum length for a cover letter, including the headings should be a page. Typically, it should be shorter. (What changes when you're looking for a job online? Find out in 5 Tips For Finding Your Perfect Job Online.)

  3. Restating Your Resume
    The purpose of the cover letter is to identify your skills and explain how your previous work experiences are applicable to the desired position. Simply restating all of the facts on your resume, without going into an explanation of why you skills and experiences are important defeats the purpose of the cover letter. The cover letter has to build on the information presented on the resume, not just summarize it.

IN PICTURES: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs

  1. Identifying Weaknesses
    Another primary goal of your cover letter should be to identify the strengths that make you the best candidate for the position. Talking about your weaknesses is not only complete waste of space, but also counterproductive to the goal of getting the interview. While "What are your greatest weaknesses?" is a common interview question, don't jump into such information unless asked.

  2. Sounding Arrogant
    Although you have to identify your qualifications and positive traits, ensure that your cover letter does not portray you as being arrogant. Excessive overuse of the words "I", "me" or "my" can make you sound conceited and as one with a limited vocabulary. Furthermore, repeating any word too often reflects poor writing abilities. Yes, the cover letter is ultimately about you and your accomplishments but you have to find a way of saying "I'm the best" without actually saying it. (For more, see Top 8 Ways To Get Your Resume Thrown Out.)

  3. Adding Unnecessary Information
    Also, focus on your relevant qualifications to the role. If applying for an accounting position, the fact that you have ran a marathon should not be prime focal point, although such a personal accomplishment should be worth mentioning. The type of positive information best left off the cover letter would be things like your IQ - while undoubtedly important for any role, adding it to your cover letter is just plain weird.

  4. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
    The obvious criteria which apply to professional emails, school exams and resumes are all important when constructing the cover letter. Spelling and grammar problems are a key issue which signals that the candidate did not put in the required time go through and check for potential problems. This lack of attention to detail is frowned upon in all industries.

The Bottom Line
Do not assume that an impressive cover letter can serve as a substitute for a poorly written resume. Both resume and cover letter blunders must be avoided in order to proceed to the interview stage of the hiring process.

For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Poverty Rates Increase - And So Do Millionaires.

Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Insider's Guide To The Top U.S. Business Schools

    The best business school for you depends on your skills, career goals and interests. We help future MBA's make a more informed choice.
  2. Personal Finance

    10 Habits of Successful People

    10 of the most-often cited habits of people who have enjoyed success in business and in life.
  3. Savings

    5 Ways To Be Irreplaceable At Work

    Companies most value five certain behaviors, and the employees who exhibit them establish themselves as essential to an organization.
  4. Economics

    What Does a Relationship Manager Do?

    A firm’s relationship manager works to maintain positive relationships with its customers and partner firms.
  5. Personal Finance

    10 Tips for Strategic Networking

    Learn the rules of networking so you can operate like a pro. After all, maintaining a strong network is essential in today's job environment.
  6. Professionals

    Career Advice: Investment Banking Vs. Law

    Learn some of the most important differences between a career in investment banking and law, and figure out which career suits you better.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    A How-To Guide to Being a Venture Capitalist

    So, you want to be a venture capitalist? Here's what it takes (besides capital).
  8. Entrepreneurship

    The Top 5 Under-the-Radar Cities for Job Seekers

    Don't be misled by 'Top 10' lists that rank cities purely on job growth. These cities get top marks for income growth and other key factors.
  9. Professionals

    How Advisors Can Help Junior Partners Flourish

    Hiring a junior partner can be beneficial to a financial planning practice. Here's how advisors can help a new hire flourish.
  10. Professionals

    Advisors: When Should You Fire a Client?

    Sometimes firing a client is necessary. Here's how to know when it's time to show a client the door.
  1. Does a financial advisor need an MBA?

    Obtaining a license as a financial adviser does not require an Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Certified ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can an investment banker switch to a career in corporate finance?

    It's pretty easy for an investment banker to switch to a career in corporate finance. The career skills are easily transferable, ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How do I get started with a career in asset management?

    The asset management industry has a variety of different career paths. Depending on what asset management area you would ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. For which kind of jobs is having Magnum Cum Laude most important?

    Having a magna cum laude degree is most important for jobs in the fields of finance, management consulting and engineering. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Other than accounting, what does a corporate finance job involve?

    While a corporate finance job almost always involves accounting in some capacity, there are many additional job duties and ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What qualities are necessary to be an effective member of the c-suite in a publicly-traded ...

    Several qualities are needed to be a member of the c-suite of a publicly traded company. The c-suite is business jargon term ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  2. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  3. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  4. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
  5. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's costs of production by assessing the input costs of each step ...
  6. Capitalized Cost

    An expense that is added to the cost basis of a fixed asset on a company's balance sheet. Capitalized Costs are incurred ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!