Debunking 5 Cover Letter Myths

You might have seen your peers submit cover letters with their job applications and wondered if you should do the same. These documents are considered optional unless the employer has specifically requested them, but submitting one can still do wonders to help you stand out from other candidates applying for the same job. For this reason, you should definitely consider spending time crafting a good cover letter and submitting it along with your application.

Many people who take on this task for the first time are unsure about where to begin. They also receive conflicting advice from different people, such as their career guidance counselor or other professionals in their network.

In this guide, we will debunk a few common cover letter myths to help you get on the right track.

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1. Cover Letters Only Repeat What’s Already On Your Resume

While there may be an overlap between the information you include in your cover letter and the information presented in your resume, these two documents differ in many ways. The key difference is that your cover letter gives you a chance to explain things in greater detail than you could in your resume. After all, most resume guidance counselors recommend describing your work history and skills succinctly in your resume.

With this in mind, your cover letter can elaborate on some of the past roles you’ve had that are relevant to the position you’re currently applying to. You can highlight specific achievements or tasks you completed in that role and how your experience in the role can add value to your future employer if they hire you.

2. Longer Cover Letters Are Better

The notion that longer cover letters are better is incorrect. People who fall for this myth often craft elaborate cover letters that delve into each of their past roles and discuss their passion for their field. However, reading through a long cover letter is tedious for employers, and those who encounter overly-long cover letters are likely to discard them after glancing at their length.

So, what’s the ideal length for a cover letter? There’s no fixed word limit, but an experienced career guidance counselor will recommend writing 3 to 5 paragraphs. This means you should talk only about past work roles relevant to the position you’re applying for and offer vital information about yourself.

An employer who’s sifting through dozens or even hundreds of applications per day won’t have time to read your novella, so keep it short and sweet.

3. You Can Use the Same Cover Letter For Every Job Application

Creating a cover letter isn’t easy, and people struggle with this task when attempting it for the first time. However, the truth is that you will need to create multiple cover letters while job hunting. This is because you can’t use the same cover letter for each job application.

The reason behind this is the cover letter’s purpose. These letters are intended to highlight your specific work roles and skills that are a good fit for a particular job position. Therefore, you should create a unique cover letter for each role you’re applying for.

For example, if you’re applying for a job in the healthcare sector, your cover letter can mention the work you’ve done as a receptionist at a hospital. If you’re applying for a job in the finance sector, it’s better to talk about the finance-related courses you took in college rather than your hospital receptionist role.

An online career guidance counselor can help you craft numerous cover letters for different roles, so consider creating a wide set before starting your job hunt.

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4. The Cover Letter Should Focus Just On Your Needs

Writing a cover letter gives you an opportunity to describe how the role you’re applying for will aid your career development. Doing so successfully may convince an employer that you will be committed to the role. However, your cover letter should also convey the different ways in which your experience and skill set offers value to the employer.

Focusing solely on yourself and the benefits the role will provide you isn’t enticing to the employer. After all, their goal is to hire someone who can benefit their company.

So, consider striking a good balance between mentioning your interest in the role and how you can perform well in it.

5. You Shouldn’t Follow Up After Submitting Your Cover Letter

Once you’ve submitted your job application and cover letter, it’s tempting to leave things there and allow the employer to reach their decision without contacting them further. However, following up with an employer is usually a good idea.

Reaching out to the employer demonstrates your enthusiasm for the role and your eagerness to get it. It also helps you stand out from the pool of candidates that applied for the role. This is why you should consider crafting a well-tailored cover letter and following up with the employer after submitting it.

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Why Choose Resu Consulting?

The cover letter myths described above have negatively impacted many job seekers. Writing and submitting these letters can greatly boost your odds of receiving an interview, so keep the aforementioned points in mind when creating your cover letters.

If you need help writing a cover letter for a specific role, consider contacting Resu Consulting. As one of the best career guidance platforms, we offer career guidance for students and professionals. Our list of services also includes career coaching, resume writing, and LinkedIn profile writing.

Book an appointment with our career guidance consultants today.

Job Application Checklist: 5 Things You Must Focus On

Anyone that has been job hunting is likely to be familiar with the tedious process of filling out job applications. Filling out form after form for each position you apply to certainly isn’t fun. However, job applications remain a crucial part of the employment process.

These applications provide employers with vital information about candidates and help them screen for the most suitable ones. As a result, job applications could be considered just as important as resumes when it comes to landing an interview.

Many people fill out job applications much like they would fill out any other type of form. However, this mindset could prevent you from presenting yourself to employers as best as possible. So check out our job application checklist below if you’d like to start filling out job applications in the way that professionals with established careers do.


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1. Review the Job Application’s Instructions

Job applications from large companies often feature a list of instructions to follow. These could be instructions related to the format in which information should be presented, the word limit for a section, or instructions on what kind of information to include.

It’s important to read these instructions carefully and follow them while filling out your application. Failing to follow instructions could lead to the company’s application review system rejecting your application, even if you possess the right qualifications for the position.

This is one of the primary tips that people using job search assistance programs are taught to follow, so be sure to understand the application form’s instructions before proceeding.

2. Include a Detailed Work History

The main section in each job application focuses on the applicant’s work history. This section includes numerous slots or boxes where you can mention your past roles, job starting and ending dates, and duties.

Filling out your job title, company name, and start and end is relatively straightforward. However, the portion where you list your duties is trickier and far more important.

This is because it’s possible to make a simple duty or activity seem far more valuable with the right wording. We’ve previously discussed the importance of quantifying your achievements in our resume writing guidance blog. You should do the same when you fill out your work history in job applications.

3. Explain Work History Gaps

If you have long gaps in your work history, you should provide a satisfactory explanation to the employer. This could be time taken off to pursue a degree, help with a family business, or the recovery period following an illness or severe injury.

Explaining these gaps is important because it offers the employer more insight into who you are and how committed you’ve been to building your skillset. Your explanation can also showcase some transferable skills that may be useful to the company.

For example, if you quit a job to focus on fundraising for a charity organization, mentioning this on your job application form can convey that you possess sales skills.


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4. Double-Check Your Contact Information

Including the correct contact information sounds like a no-brainer. However, it’s always possible for someone filling out multiple application forms each day to rush through this section and make mistakes.

If you’re filling out a job application form online, your web browser may have already saved your contact information. In this case, you simply need to click a single button to have it autofill your contact details in each field in the application’s contact section. However, this approach can still lead to some mistakes, such as your phone number being entered into the zip code field or vice-versa.

Including the wrong email address or contact number could lead to you missing out on an interview opportunity, so be sure to double-check your contact information and ensure it is complete and accurate.

5. Use Keywords

In the digital era, companies sort job applications using computerized systems. These systems can scan and analyze hundreds of applications in a matter of minutes by looking for specific keywords. They then forward the applications that contain a high number of matching keywords to the employer.

For this reason, you should consider including these keywords in your work history or other sections of the job application. You should note that employers don’t publicly list the keywords they ask their systems to check for. However, you can read through the job description carefully and try matching some of the terms used in it.

Alternatively, you can reach out to a career guidance counselor who has experience with keyword research. This professional can help you fill out your job applications with the right keywords and offer additional career guidance for adults.


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Why Choose Resu Consulting?

Filling out job applications might not be fun, but the process does get easier with time. With enough practice, you’ll be able to breeze through these forms and present your information in a manner that gets the system to select you.

Once you’re done with your job application, you’ll be required to include your resume before submitting it to the employer. You should ensure your resume is optimized and up-to-date. If you’d like to have your resume reviewed by an expert, consider contacting Resu Consulting.

Our consultants offer resume review services for free and can offer valuable advice on how you can improve yours. As the best site for career guidance, we take pride in offering numerous services designed to help professionals. This includes career coaching, resume writing, cover letter writing, and LinkedIn profile writing. Get in touch with us and book an appointment with our consultants today.

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