City CV’s professional CV writers have tailored countless CV cover letters over the years and we wanted to put the spotlight on the most basic of cover letter ‘noes’, to help you put your best foot forward, and establish that decisive positive first impression.

What’s in a name?

Quite frankly, everything. If you misspell the company or hiring manager’s name, it is game over. Bad spellings and grammar send a clear message to potential employers that you aren’t someone who takes pride in your work, don’t have attention to detail and aren’t willing to put in any effort.

Check, recheck and check again, and don’t depend on spell check!

The wrong company

Stupid as it sounds, it’s easy to forget to change the company name when sending multiple cover letters to multiple companies. If you’re writing to Goldman Sachs, don’t leave in the words ‘Morgan Stanley’. It’s astounding how many candidates miss the boat through such a simple mistake. Get the name wrong and it will be an instant rejection.

Proof read, proof read and proof read again.

The dreaded ‘To Whom It May Concern’

Try not to use this phrase if possible. The hiring manager, recruiter or contact person’s name is usually included in the job listing. In case it isn’t available call the company or email them. It shows initiative and demonstrates your interest in the position.

Don’t rehash your CV

A cover letter is not meant to be a regurgitation of your CV; it’s an opportunity to make a solid first connection with the company to help secure an interview. Split the letter in to four key areas. Introduce yourself, tell them why you want to work for them, what value you will bring and what you like about them. Remember to mention relevant achievements, to help align your experience to the job requirements.

 The long and short of it

No essays please, but at the same time it’s important to say enough to catch an employers attention. Keep it to one page, with no more than three or four paragraphs.

A carefully written cover letter can bring you closer to securing an interview, however, a shoddy one will definitely ensure that your application won’t be taken any further. If you are struggling with yours, City CV’s professional CV writers and coaches can help you gain that extra edge over your competitors. Don’t just take our word for it, read some of our success stories and equip yourself with the best tools and support to navigate the complex recruitment market. Call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or email enquiries@citycv.com for more information on our CV cover letter writing, interview coaching or LinkedIn profile writing services.