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What Not to Put in Your Cover Letter

The 5 Worst Things to Put in Your Cover Letter 

Cover letters are often created as an afterthought to a resume, thrown together painstakingly at an employer’s request. The bad first impression that a poorly written cover letter leaves can be difficult to recover from—even impossible. While there are many things you should not include in a cover letter, here are the top five most common mistakes:

1.  Inaccurate Information about the Company

Demonstrating knowledge of the company you are applying with can be a good practice in a cover letter; however, if any information you include is incorrect it will be glaring in the eyes of the reader. Double check—and triple check—that any mention of your potential employer or position is completely accurate.

2. Irrelevant Experience

Personal anecdotes, unrelated work experience, or vaguely abstract goals should all be nixed from your cover letter. Whoever is reading your application likely already has limited time, and having them read information about you that they aren’t interested in will only hurt your case.

3. Salary

Your cover letter should not be a place to start negotiating your salary. In fact, any mention of salary should be left out of your letter. Because you do not know how much your employer is going to offer, letting them know your requirements will not have any benefit.

4. Pictures

Candidates have varying reasons for including a headshot with their applications—perhaps it will make me appear more personable? Or convey to employers who I am? In reality, unless an employer explicitly asks for a photo, including one can come across as unprofessional.

5. Not enough Information

While the opposite of this mistake is also common—writing too much in a cover letter—not writing enough is a good way to land your application in the recycle bin. A cover letter should lie in the 200-250 word range, any more or less and you are likely to bore or turn off your reader.


Cover letters may not get as much attention as resumes, but they can make all the difference when applying for a job. These 5 mistakes in particular are some of the most noticeable ways to take you out of the running for a job; however, following the opposite of these errors could land you the position!

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