Many professionals spend hours writing and re-writing their cover letter. With each resume submission, we tend to revise our cover letter to make sure that it is personalized for the position we are applying for. While we spend so much time on the content of the cover letter, we seem to disregard a very important and prominent area of the letter – the address line. Most mistakes in the cover letter are made in the address line. This is very problematic as this is the first piece of information that the potential employer sees on your resume. If mistakes are made in the address line, it is likely that the potential employer will discard the letter and you will lose an opportunity to be considered as a candidate for the job that you want. The following three mistakes are most common in addressing the cover letter and should be considered before your cover letter is sent to the employer:
1. Not addressing the letter to a person. This is a big mistake in the world of cover letters. Generic greetings, such as “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Human Resources Team,” are not favorable. If the job description or posting does not include the contact person, you will need to do some research to find out who the appropriate contact is for the job you are applying for. Additionally, avoid addressing the letter to a job title. Call the organization and find out who is the hiring manager or the recruiter for the job, and address the letter directly to them. In case it is impossible to find out who the appropriate contact is, it is often recommended that you leave off any generic greetings and simply begin the cover letter.
2. Misspelling the name of the organization. Even if you are addressing your cover letter to a specific person, you will still need to include the name of the company and their address. Always make sure that the company name is spelled correctly. Hiring managers and recruiters know from experience that misspelling the company name is a common mistake, but it’s the easiest one to avoid. Triple-check the company name on your cover letter. If your potential employer receives the letter with the incorrect company name, your letter will never make it past the first person who receives it.
3. Your first sentence doesn’t explain why you are contacting the company. This is a common mistake as many people assume that stating that you are contacting the company regarding employment, as you are including your resume, is unnecessary. However, this is not the case. Let your potential employer exactly why you are contacting them; state the title of the job you are interested in, and how your qualifications make you an ideal candidate for the job. Your first statement needs to be straight forward, energetic, and positive, and it should invite the employer to read through the rest of the cover letter. Bland and generic opening statements will result in disinterest on the part of your employer, and your resume will not get pass the first review.