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It goes without saying that your resume is a critical tool in your successful job search. However, the very first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will see is your cover letter.

Before you question this fact, rest assured that they will read it – and use it as the first test of your potential as a serious candidate. Recent research has proven that a majority of employers prefer applicants who have taken the time and initiative to craft a thoughtful cover letter. So, make sure yours helps – not hurts – your chances of being hired.

Avoid these five cover letter mistakes, if possible, or correct them ASAP:

  1. Your cover letter is too long.

On average, a hiring manager spends about six seconds on the initial review of a candidate’s resume – and certainly no longer than that on a cover letter. Keep readability in mind, and keep it simple, direct, clear and to the point. According to one study, nearly 70 percent of employers said they prefer a half-page or about a 250-word cover letter.

  1. Your cover letter is too generic.

Thanks to search engine capabilities, there’s no excuse not to personalize your cover letter. Start with finding the name of the recruiter or HR or hiring manager. Then, tailor the content to the company and the specific position. Study the job description or posting and include keywords. Pay special attention to the department or business unit you would be joining if hired.

  1. You’re underselling yourself.

Even if you feel a bit underqualified for a job, focus on the attributes that would make you a strong candidate. Play up any relevant and transferable skills that would enable you to do it justice. Draw on your strengths and stay away from your weaknesses. Keep it positive.

  1. It’s all about what you

Think of your cover letter as your initial sales pitch to a hiring manager. Focus on what you could do for the company. Even better: Find their specific pain points and describe how you can relieve them. Draw on your education, experience, and expertise. How can you leverage them to the benefit of a prospective employer?

  1. Your cover letter regurgitates your resume.

Remember, the hiring manager already has your resume. It’s counterproductive to rehash the same content in your cover letter. Instead, impress the recruiter by including something new, yet important. For instance, demonstrate your understanding of the company’s current position in the marketplace and its needs, and then highlight how your unique qualifications speak to these requirements.

Cover letters, resumes, finding the prime jobs available in your field, interview prep – and all the steps involved in a job search – can be stressful and overwhelming. By partnering with a staffing firm that specializes in your profession, you can alleviate a log of that stress and optimize your chances of success. In administration, customer service, IT, finance, legal support, healthcare, and production and distribution, consider making that partner PrideStaff Fresno. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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