5 Cover Letter Mistakes That Will Send Your Application Straight to the Trash

Your cover letter is a crucial component of your job application. It’s your chance to make a strong impression on potential employers and stand out from the competition. However, there are common Cover Letter mistakes that can quickly land your application in the trash bin.

In this article, we will discuss some of these critical cover letter mistakes and provide insights on how to avoid them.

Cover Letter Mistakes That Will Send Your Application Straight to the Trash

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your application gets noticed for all the right reasons.

1. Failure to follow instructions:

One of the first mistakes applicants make is not carefully reading and following the instructions provided in the job listing. Employers often include specific requirements like subject lines, salary expectations, or additional documents.

Neglecting these instructions sends a signal that you lack attention to detail and may result in immediate elimination.

Double-check your cover letter against the job listing and have someone proofread it before submission.

By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to follow instructions and showcase your attention to detail.

2. Using a generic cover letter:

Submitting a generic cover letter for every job application is a surefire way to blend into the crowd and miss out on interview opportunities. Tailoring your cover letter to each specific job demonstrates your genuine interest and commitment to the position.

Show enthusiasm for the company and highlight how your skills and experiences align with the job requirements.

Avoid discussing unrelated career goals or experiences. Recruiters can easily spot a generic cover letter, and it shows a lack of effort and interest in the specific role.

3. Regurgitating your resume:

Your cover letter should complement your resume, not duplicate it. Avoid summarizing your resume’s content; instead, focus on elaborating on the experiences and skills that make you an exceptional candidate for the position.

Provide specific examples from your past work or educational experiences that directly relate to the job you’re applying for. Keep your cover letter concise and compelling, adding details that aren’t present in your resume to make it stand out.

4. Lack of professionalism:

Maintaining a professional tone throughout your cover letter is crucial. Avoid including personal details that are unrelated to the position you’re applying for. Regardless of the application method (online or physical), always use a formal greeting and closing.

If mailing a physical copy, use professional stationery. Unless you’re in a creative field like graphic design, it’s best to adhere to a standard cover letter format. Don’t make it difficult for employers to find the necessary information.

5. Neglecting to proofread:

One of the most critical steps in crafting an effective cover letter is thorough proofreading. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes are unacceptable and reflect poorly on your attention to detail.

Additionally, ensure that you address the hiring manager correctly, including their name and gender. Take extra care to mention the correct company name and position title, avoiding the embarrassment of using a template from a previous cover letter.

Back up your claims of skills and experiences by providing concrete examples that demonstrate your capabilities.


Crafting an attention-grabbing cover letter requires effort, attention to detail, and the ability to tailor your application to the specific job.

By avoiding the common mistakes discussed in this article, you can increase your chances of standing out from the competition and landing the interview.

Remember to follow instructions, customize your letter, complement your resume, maintain professionalism, and proofread meticulously.

A well-crafted cover letter will showcase your skills and enthusiasm, making your application stand out among the rest.

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