- Not including a cover letter – This is your opportunity to tell your target employer exactly why you are the perfect candidate and how your work experience exactly matches their current needs and will make their life better. Make them want to read your resume. If a job application has a section to upload your cover letter, do it! If you are emailing your resume see #4.
- Not matching the tone and formality of your resume and other job search documents – Be consistent. Your cover letter is your introduction to an organization and might be the only thing they see if it isn’t perfect and compelling, meaning that they won’t even see the resume you spent all the time drafting. Your header, if you mail it (see #4), should match your resume header and any other documents that are requested, writing sample, deal sheet, etc.
- Not including how your past accomplishments will benefit your potential new employer and save them energy, money and time – Highlight items from your resume and clearly link them to how you can help the employer and potentially solve a current problem. I know I want to hire people who so perfectly fit my needs I can go home early and trust that my business will get done as well as I … never mind, just make sure you clearly and relevantly explain why YOU, and not anyone else, will accomplish things with and for them. You’re not saving lives, unless you are, but remember to tell them how you can be an EMT, and save them Energy, Money and Time.
- Attaching your cover letter to your email instead of putting the letter in the body of the email, or worse, including the letter in the same attached document as your resume – Do not give the person receiving your documents more work to do, or attachments to open. 98% of cover letters are emailed now (I made up that statistic but I’m guessing there must be about 2% of people who still mail things or are required to) so yes, it is OK. Note: When I say “[put] the letter in the body of the email” I mean start at Dear ___: . . . and end at Sincerely, Your New EMT. Do not include the date and letter head. Have you ever seen an email that looks like a letter? If you include your cover letter in the same document as your resume there is no reason for a recruiter or hiring decision maker to scroll past page 1 and they may not see your resume. True Story: I’ve thrown out coverletterresumes. The cover letter, is a COVER letter.
- Your cover letter is too long or not long enough – 1 page maximum and 3-4 paragraphs is the norm. Be concise but inclusive. I don’t like to give strict rules on this but as a former recruiter and after speaking to many people in career services and placement, this is the norm. Job seekers always ask for rules, it makes just one part of the process easier. You’re welcome.
Here’s a freebie – Spell check and eliminate typos!
If you have any questions please get in touch.