6 Tired Statements to Avoid Writing on Your Covering Letter23rd September 2015 | George Atkins
Employers regularly receive a dizzying number of covering letters and CVs each time a job position is being advertised and as a result, generic phrases tend to crop up time and time again, with applicants all trying to give the illusion of individuality through the use of clichéd phrases. These types of statements are regularly featured on covering letters, often leading to those CVs being dismissed in favour of more creative and interesting personal statements. Because of this, it is more important now than ever to choose your words wisely; try avoiding these 6 blatantly-boring statements when writing a cover letter and stay in contention for your dream job.
“I am a confident team player and individual worker”
Talk about covering all the bases... This statement falls into the trap of being what is known as a “non-sentence”; it features no important information, telling employers virtually nothing, it comes across as terribly clichéd and is the type of wording that everybody uses on their covering letter. Instead, when writing a cover letter, try focusing on your specific individual or team-based achievements and write about them instead, proving to employers that you are a team player/ individual workhorse (e.g. “I can recall the time that I [team based exercise that you helped achieve]”).
“I am applying for [vacancy] with [company]”
In this day and age, it’s just not necessary to put this statement on your covering letter. In your correspondence with a company (usually email) you are required to include which role you are applying for in the subject line anyway; putting it on your covering letter is just stating the obvious. However, writing a cover letter tailored to each application is definitely recommended; as long as you don’t fall into the same trap as those other applicants, who are all using that same sentence at the top of their cover letters. Otherwise, your CV will just blend in with the rest.
“This is the Perfect Job for Me”
This one’s a real minefield. Whilst the intention of including this statement on your covering letter might be noble, it’ll make you seem self-centred or single-minded, not taking into consideration the needs/ requirements of your potential employer or what value you can add to their company. Stating that it is your “perfect job” also raises the question “does this mean you will be uncomfortable working in other areas of the company, should circumstances change?” It suggests a lack of ambition and leadership qualities, that you are happy to take the role being advertised and nothing more. Instead, when writing a cover letter, try demonstrating why you would be perfect in this role and what value you can add to the company, as well as mentioning your career aspirations, all of which will show that you are keen to progress throughout their organisation.
“The main factor that attracted me to this position is the pay rise”
Most of the time, people apply for new jobs to help further their career but mainly to earn more money! However, this might not be the savviest thing to put on your cover letters, which lets employers know that you are only interested in salary, not making contacts or working in a team, or even adding value to a company... you are just chasing the big pay check. Try instead focusing on the other elements that have attracted you to a particular role (e.g. on-the-job specialist training, career progression) and steer away from mentioning money on your covering letter; if/when you get an interview, then you can begin to seriously discuss salary in more depth, without coming across as single-minded or short-sighted.
“I really think outside the box”
This statement again doesn’t mean a whole lot. “Thinking outside the box” ironically suggests that you don’t possess a lot of creativity, using the same clichéd phrases as every other applicant when writing a cover letter. Instead of just using this statement, try including examples which highlight your creativity or by writing your cover letters in an exciting way. The goal here is to make your covering letter as distinctive and memorable as possible and, utilising interesting language or even anecdotes, is an easy way to attract an employer’s attention straight away. Try and project your personality through your covering letter as best as possible and avoid coming across like ApplicantBot3000 with those generic, “creative” phrases.
“Please get back to me if you want to see my CV”
If you are emailing potential employers, ALWAYS attach a copy of your CV as well as your covering letter! Sending cover letters alone is a pointless endeavour and employers think that they are expected to do all the hard work for you and email you back, whilst highlighting the fact that you are too lazy to even attach a document to an email! The CV and covering letter work in tandem to give employers the best possible impression, with the CV usually reinforcing statements you make on a covering letter; including one and not another is like trying to play tennis without a racket (or something...).