It’s your one chance to “hook” the reader before they move on to a vast pile of applicants after you. It’s the prelude to the interview.” So worry less about sounding like everyone else, and take the opportunity to show who you are and why you’re the right person for the job.
“The cover letter creates the first impression,” says Frieberger. “You'd be surprised how many of the cover letters I read that are filled with simple typos and spelling or grammatical errors,” says Lan.
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Experts say that’s the kind of thing that can get a perfectly decent candidate thrown into the “reject” pile, since it shows the person doesn’t exhibit a high standard for his or her own work.
Using other people’s research or ideas without giving them due credit is plagiarism.
“Without writing a novel, try to say something personal to make your letter stand out,” Salpeter suggests.
“If you’re applying to work at a company that makes running shoes, and your first pair of special shoes came from them, mention it.” When in doubt, think of your cover letter as your elevator pitch.
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Not using a real name implies that you’re not very resourceful.
All it takes is a few minutes of online sleuthing or a few calls to the company’s HR department to find a name and take the “robot speak” out of your salutation.
Next to online dating profiles, cover letters may just be the scariest things to write. “Countless smart job seekers have never heard back because their cover letters sabotaged them,” says Paul Freiberger, a career coach based in San Mateo, California and author of .