If your cover letter isn’t bringing in the responses you’d like, these four possibilities may be contributing to the problem. Unfortunately, busy hiring managers are usually focused on finding the right candidate for the position at hand, and they don’t often have time to provide detailed feedback to the runners-up in the applicant pool. So if your letter is passed over or the line goes silent, you may be left guessing regarding what went wrong. Consider these four possibilities, and make some adjustments as necessary.
1. Your letter didn’t stand out.
If your cover letter is loaded with clichés and bland descriptors that apply to every other person in the pool, it may be overlooked. Watch out for phrases like “I’m a hard worker” and “I’m a proactive go-getter with strong initiative.” These sound nice, but they just don’t set you apart.
2. Your letter was difficult to read.
Tiny font, long continuous blocks of text, convoluted and confusing sentences, and ambiguous statements can all put your writing and your words ahead of your core message. You don’t want this to happen. Make sure your words fade away behind your central premise: you’re a terrific person who should be hired for this job.
3. Your letter was mistaken for spam, or it felt like part of a mass mailing.
This can easily happen if you send the exact same letter to every company you solicit for work. Use a central template (Free Resume Builder can help with this), but vary and customize that template slightly with each application.
4. Your letter lacked specificity.
Don’t just tell your readers that you’re right for the job—tell them what can offer that no other candidate can. While you’re at it, describe experiences you’ve had, awards you’ve won, or specific ambitions you hold that no other candidate can claim. Managers are far more likely to pay attention to details they haven’t seen before.