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A new job has been advertised and you think you would be the perfect fit, so you are excited about applying. That is, until you notice that the company wants you to submit a cover letter along with your resume. You cannot even remember when the last time you even used a cover letter to apply for a job, so you just skip this step and jot off a nice email instead.

STOP. You are making yourself look like an amateur and you haven’t even gone to an interview yet. Let’s back up and take the time to write a professional cover letter. First, avoid these rookie cover letter mistakes:

Addressing it “To Whom it May Concern”

This is one of the most common mistakes job applicants make with cover letters. They don’t take the time to find out who they are sending it to, so they just use some generic title like this. Instead, pick up the phone and ask whom to send the cover letter to – the company secretary will be happy to furnish you with at least a first name.

Writing a Long Cover Letter

People often think of writing cover letters like they are sending a letter to a friend or family member. But in the professional world, a cover letter should be no more than an intro, a paragraph that highlights your value, and a line to wrap things up. Keep your cover letter to no more than 150 words.

Connecting it to a Resume

Never ever write a cover letter and a resume as a single document. This is because a cover letter needs to be a separate customized letter for the particular job. A form cover letter or one attached to a resume is not going to impress anyone.

Forgetting Contact Information

Always be sure to avoid the rookie mistake of leaving out your contact information on your cover letter. Include it in the header of the document and then place your phone number in the call to action sentence at the end.

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