Resumes & Cover Letter Mistakes

Resumes & cover letters: steps in getting a new job, get an employer's attention, make sure that your cover letter stands out. Top ten mistakes that job seekers often make when writing their cover letter, and how to avoid them.

Though the cover letter should be an exercise in attention to detail, there are far too many blunders that happen all too often in the job marketplace. The following are the top ten cover letter blunders that you should always make sure to avoid. Committing one of these all too common career crimes is the equivalent of telling the interviewer that you definitely don't want the job.

Unattractive Layout

One of the first ways to get your resume noticed - for the wrong reasons - is to have a layout that is unattractive or inconsistent. For example, changing the spacing throughout the resume would be one way to achieve this; alternating between capital letters and boldface type to separate sections would be another way. Be sure that your resume is set up to look neat and sharp, and that you follow a consistent design scheme the whole way through.

Inappropriate Stationery

One of the great thing about having a great supply of stationery and writing paper is that it can really say something about who you are as a person. Though this is a great way to express yourself to friends and family, it doesn't work as well with a potential employer. Save the cutesy flowers and animals for friendly correspondence; write all professional papers on a heavier stock of professional paper.

Too Fancy Fonts

Just like the elaborate stationery that can work against you in business correspondence, employing the use of too decorative fonts can also damage your reputation as a professional and business savvy job seeker. The best font to use is a Times or Arial font. Something basic, and that can be found on almost any word processing program.

Making Corrections

Perhaps it's the fact that businesses themselves have been becoming more and more relaxed these days, but job seekers seem to take this philosophy to an extreme. Time and time again, candidates seeking employment think it's okay to make a correction on their resume with white out or - even worse - a pen or pencil. Other candidates have opted for a quick Post-It note explaining the slip-up. If you make a mistake on your resume, go back and make the change directly to the document, and reprint it. There is no excuse for any resume to be less than perfect.

Incorrect Information

When sending out a cover letter, you should always have a specific name of the person to whom it is being sent. One common mistake - and it's a mistake that can really bother a sensitive interviewer - is finding incorrect information on the cover letter. For example, if the cover letter send to "Chris Jones" reads "Dear Mr. Jones" when Chris is actually Christine. The same goes for incorrect information as it relates to the company name and address. The easiest way to avoid this mistake? Take a moment to give the company a call and double check the mailing address and name and spelling of the person's name to whom you are sending the resume.


A major problem that is often encountered when an interview is reading one's resume is a whole slew of typos. More and more, this type of error (even if the typo is one small one) is becoming enough a reason for interviewers to exclude someone from the running altogether. A quick spell check and a careful edit are two ways in which you can prevent this from happening to you.

Inappropriate Tones

In any sort of business correspondence, job seekers need to walk a distinct line between familiarity and professionalism. The tone of any cover letter should be polite without being obsequious, and professional without being too stiff. Don't be afraid to show a little bit of your personality, just don't show it all up front.

Comparisons and Clichés

In everyday language, it is likely that you will hear at least one overused cliché or obvious comparison come out of the mouth of someone you know. As is the nature of such phrases, they only serve to make you sound unoriginal. Avoid using clichés and obvious comparisons when writing a cover letter, as it's likely that someone else is writing the exact same thing.

No Signature

One of the most important things employers are looking for nowadays is an employee with a great attention to detail. Sending off your cover letter without having signed it is one sure way to assure the interviewer that your attention-to-detail skills are certainly lacking.

Missing Resume

Another sign that a candidate is lacking in the attention-to-detail department: sending a cover letter without a resume. Though it seems like a ridiculous mistake to make, there are far too many people that send out a cover letter and forget to include what is really important here, their credentials.

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