Cover Letter No-Nos

Perhaps inadvertently proving that employers do read cover letters, FINS.com has a roundup of things employers and staffing agency execs have seen in cover letters that killed that applicant’s chances at a job.

Tops on the list: Not including a cover letter. One recruiter recalled a letter he got that made Twitter’s 140-character limit look like a novel: “Here’s my resume. Call me. [Phone number].”

Another dealbreaker: Awkward or ambiguous language. “My name is xxx. I am pretty interested in the IT analyst position at Just Military Loans,” one letter said. Even if English wasn’t this letter-writer’s first language and he meant “very interested,” the mistake cost him a job interview, FINS says.

There are eight more no-nos at the original article, though one of them we do take a little issue with.

The article says a cover letter shouldn’t include criticism of a potential employer, which typically makes sense. But in the example FINS.com uses, the applicant was asked to submit feedback on the employer’s website. When the applicant then wrote that “The engineering of your site looks lazy and ineffective” and that the site’s color scheme was “disconcerting to my eyes,” s/he was disqualified. Okay, so this person could have been a little more polite, but guys, you asked for it.

At any rate, we’d like to hear from hiring managers what else would disqualify an applicant that early in the process.