Avoiding cover letter nightmares: 5 things to keep in mind

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Job applications often require a cover letter highlighting a candidate’s personal and professional skills. People reviewing these applications use the cover letter to measure a candidate’s appropriateness for the position and to get a grasp of how much interest the applicant has in the company.

Unfortunately, as we found out as part of our widely popular cover letter preparation and editing services at GradConnect, candidates always miss out on the most important and specific details in a statement of purpose. In fact, almost every candidate seems to make the same sorts of mistakes. Some of these are given below.

Words forced out of the Oxford Dictionary

Using words like ‘conundrum’ and ‘reminiscence’ do help you to paint a picture of intellect, emotional maturity and mental strength. But problems arise when you use these words at places where a simpler version would work better.

The truth is, no matter how much you try, unless and until you are well-read the proper use of intellectual words will baffle you and make you sound overblown. This is why it is a very good idea to express yourself in the simplest of words used correctly and to employ your vocabulary in a way that makes sense.

Telling the reader that you are ‘special’, ‘skilled’, ‘extraordinary’ and ‘extroverted’

Clichés are nightmares for application reviewers. Every single candidate thinks that he or she is special, extraordinary, skilled and extroverted while little realizing that it is impossible to validate the aforementioned virtues through a cover letter and a resume.

Therefore it is imperative to avoid these words and such abstract adjectives which you can’t prove. Rather, you should use your valuable time and resources to emphasis on why you are a better fit for the job than the rest of the applicants out there.

Writing down your previous job description

Too many candidates want their cover letter readers to know how well they were in their previous job. But that is not exactly how reviewers see things. While it is important that candidates excel at what they do, no one will ever claim that they were dissatisfied with their previous job and hence want to switch to better ones. Hence it is always better not to mention your previous job description, and even if you do so, do it fleetingly. Exceptions, however, exist. If your previous jobs were project-based and you feel the need to give your reviewer an insight into the things you have worked on before, it is important and in most cases mandatory that you highlight your previous job descriptions.

Writing down a huge essay

Your cover letter or statement of purpose isn’t exactly an essay. It is more of an account about your abilities and experiences, and a short insight into how much appropriate your individual characteristics are for the job. It is highly important that you grapple the reader’s attention and turn them towards your favor. And if you are going to write a three-paragraph essay, best of luck doing that.

Understand, the readers are human beings too and as such they feel the need to have interesting paragraphs and diverse language thrown at them in order to retain their interest. Use the basic literary techniques of breaking down your writing into paragraphs, each of which details a different characteristic, ability, experience or interest.

Grammatical errors

Grammatical errors come with a cost, even if they are absolutely minor. If the reviewer is a grammar Nazi—chances are he or she will be one—the smallest of errors will ire the person reading the application.

While it is given that most non-native speakers of English will make grammatical mistakes, the ubiquitous use of the English language in the subcontinent means that you must be highly proficient in this mode of communication. And let us also face the crude fact: it is imperative to be able to speak, write and understand the proper usage of the English language to survive in this age. Thus while you must be fully proficient in Bangla, you must not fall behind in English too.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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