Some writing “don’ts” for your cover letter
- Don’t use such cliches as “Enclosed please find my resume” or “As you can see on my resume enclosed herewith.” Employers can see that your resume is enclosed; they don’t need you to tell them. Such trite phrases just waste precious space. And avoid pleonasms (wordy phrases such as “in order to” and “in an effort to”), which also waste space.
- Don’t indicate that you seek an entry-level job. Doing so makes you seem not ambitious. Some employers categorize some jobs as entry-level, but most characterize them in terms of the skills required.
- Never make an unsolicited salary request in a cover letter.
- Avoid sexist salutations such as “Dear Sirs” or “Gentlemen.” You don’t want to disregard and alienate half the population.
- Don’t use such phrases as “I feel” and “I believe,” which tend to weaken and dilute the statements you make about yourself. “I am convinced” and “I am confident” are much stronger.
- Leave out everything negative. Instead of:
Although none of my listed job titles were stated as administrative, I have filled that role for every department that I have worked with for the last five years.
- Use caution with “willing to learn” statements so the employer isn’t reminded of training time and expenses.
- Avoided pleading for favors or sounding desperate and “willing to do anything.”
- Avoid over reliance on an academic frame of reference if you are a new college grad.
- Don’t describe your personal objectives in vague terms.
I have filled the administrative role in every department that I have contributed to for the last five years.