The real estate on your cover letter is very valuable. I’ve written before about how critical it is that you customize your cover letter for each unique position and company to showcase your skills and experience to your best advantage. But sometimes, that is not enough. Particularly job seekers rushing to submit a cover letter often waste value space on their cover letter by including lines that say nothing or add little or no value. It is time to banish those fillers from your cover letters going forward.
- “References furnished upon request” – Don’t waste the real estate. If you aren’t willing to give references when requested, you will never be hired. Of course you will provide references. Don’t state the obvious.
- “Resume Enclosed” – Your cover letter accompanies your resume and should make someone want to read your resume. Again, don’t waste space stating the obvious.
- “While I don’t have….” – If you do not have the requested skills or experience it will be obvious to the hiring manager reading your letter and resume. No need to draw further attention to your lack of qualifications. Your letter should focus on the positive and emphasize the relevant skills and experience you do offer.
- “I am uniquely qualified…” – More often than not, you are not uniquely qualified. Job descriptions are written broadly enough that it would highly unusual to have only one person qualified for the position. Using this line makes you look a bit arrogant and unaware of what is needed for the job.
- “I want…” – To be blunt, the hiring manager really doesn’t care what you want. They are focused on whether or not you would add value to their company by being in this job. Don’t waste time, energy or real estate focused on what you want because that doesn’t matter. Focus on the specific needs of the employer and how you meet those needs.
- “I have always admired XYZ Company…” First of all give a reason or it this line is a waste of space. More importantly, be sure you don’t include this line in your letter to ABC Company. This happens most frequently when candidates use a template cover letter and forget to update one of the citations. This is careless and unprofessional. For most hiring managers, this automatically puts your resume and cover letter in the no pile. Don’t talk about your attention to detail, demonstrate it.
By eliminating lines that do not add any value, you can focus your customized cover letter on the skills and experience that bring the most value to the company.