Excel Recruitment are EXPERTS in recruitment, if we do say so ourselves, and we see hundreds of cover letters everyday. Below are the biggest and most common mistakes we see.


To Whom It May Concern

The next point covers the importance of not submitting a generic cover letter, but ‘To whom it may concern’ is SOO overused it needs to be discussed in its own right.( This point also applies to Dear Sir/Madam). If the job ad doesn’t give the name of the person recruiting or your sending in your CV speculatively, Google it. Here at Excel, we’ve made it really easy for you to find out who recruits what jobs. If you’re not completely confident who is, use the head of the department for the position you’re applying for. At the end of the day, no one will be mad for addressing the letter higher up than necessary. At the very least, it’s better than your cover letter only being skimmed.

Same Old, Same Old

Excel Recruitment consultants see hundreds of cover letters a day and a shocking number are generic, full of tired, overused clichés and put simply, quite boring. Boring is the last thing you want to be, especially when trying to get a recruiter’s attention. Tailor your cover letter to suit each individual job you’re applying for. Don’t say ‘I would be an asset to any company’ explain why you would be an asset to THIS company. Do your research and illustrate how your skills match the specific company’s needs. Also, it’s all well and good discussing your amazing skills at this and that but if they’re not relevant to the job at hand, don’t waste the space. Again, the aim is to let the consultant/ hiring manager know you want this job, not just any job.

Putting your CV into sentences

Another mistake people make when putting together their cover letter is to simply turn their CV into a short essay or just regurgitate the same information already in their CV. Remember in first class when your teacher would give out for writing stories that go- and then this, and then that, and then we? Anything written this way is boring, never mind a job application in a very large pile of job applications. A cover letter is a much more personable way of describing your experience, your skills and goals not a longhand list of where you’ve worked. Use your cover letter to introduce yourself to the person hiring, let them know why you’ve applied and get your personality across.

Doing it for the Sake of it

So many people throw a cover letter together because they feel like they have to but that’s a waste of a vital tool. Any career breaks or gaps in employment? Using your cover letter to address them is the easiest way to explain while stressing your skills and eagerness to get back to work.

Ultimately, stop thinking of a cover letter as something you have to do and instead view it as the excellent opportunity it is. A concise, specific, well written cove letter ensures you make the best possible impression in a pile of applications and can help you make the first step.

Now that you have all the knowledge you need to write a fabulous cover letter, have a look at all our live roles and get sending!