It is not common for employers to ask their employees to write a cover letter for themselves. Most of us have only written cover letters for college or university applications. However, most job seekers think of this as just a formality, which will have no effect on their employment chances. Hence they decide to copy one off the internet and fill in their details. These model cover letters found on the internet are mere guidelines full of clichéd terms which can reduce your chances of employment. Here are the most common clichés that job seekers should avoid;[irp]
1-The use of “Dear Sir/Madam should be restricted to be used only when requesting something or on letters were written in school. This generalized opening can cause the employers to view the candidate as lazy, something which the companies dislike.
2-Saying “I would like to apply for a job at…” will not add anything to your letter as the employers already know that you are not there for your monthly medical checkup. The first sentence or paragraph should catch the attention of the reader and not in the negative way stated above.
3-Do not use “I think I am a perfect candidate for this position”. The words think feel and believe are considered weak in the business world. Furthermore, it is the employer’s thoughts about you that count, as they are the ones who decide whether you are the perfect candidate. Applicants should state how their qualifications match with the required qualifications of the job.
4- “I am a detail oriented team player”. This statement should never be used as it gives off the image that you are unimaginative with your words and generally lazy. A better way to address this is that how you manage yourself as part of the team and how you carry the team.
5-The words “I am a huge fan of your company” should never be penned down in your cover letter. You are not writing a letter to your favorite football club or music band. Generally, employers do not give any advantage to the so-called “fans” of the company, hence I am better to avoid it.
6-All cover letters should be on plain white or ivory colored paper. You can seem to be immature and laid back if you submit your letter on colored paper. This takes away the attention of the reader from the material in the letter towards the color of the paper. Would you employ someone with a lilac colored cover letter?
7-Do not confess to any weaknesses. The job seekers, who draw light to their weaknesses, inadvertently draw all the light away from their strengths.
8-Applicants should remember never to falsely state any details on the cover letter. This is because although this might help you get hired, once the information is verified, you will be dismissed.
9-One should not include age, marital status, race or religion unless it is necessary for the job that you are applying for. Employment is based on qualifications rather than personal traits such as weight, height, and so on.
10-Always proofread your letters before submission. If any typo errors are found the applicant will be considered inattentive, something that employers do not like.