Cover Letter Caution: Don’t Make a Costly Mistake
The average job search consists of dozens–even hundreds–of applications sent before securing a position (At the extreme end, Google has been noted to be exponentially harder to get into than Harvard, hiring less than 1% of applicants.). The sheer volume of resumes and cover letters makes it high-risk for mistakes. It can be tempting to become a copy-and-paste Quick Draw McGraw, hitting every posted position with your stock wording. This can can have results that are ineffective at best and catastrophic at worst.
Companies receive hoards of applications for each posting, only 20% of those, on average, get an interview. You are not helping yourself stand out but using language generic enough that it applies to multiple positions. The need for customization now extends to resumes as well, with many companies using software to screen resumes for keywords correlated to jobs.
Let’s not forget every applicants worst nightmare, daily realized in every HR department: a cover letter directed to the wrong company, assuring the hiring manager that you would love to work for their competitor. What should you do if you accidentally miss a salutation when updating a cover letter? It may be a gaffe you can’t recover from, but lying will only exacerbate the problem. Most companies will appreciate and respect your honesty if you come clean and apologize upon discovering your error.
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