NEW YORK (MainStreet) Looking for a new landing spot in your career?
Make sure your cover letter is in good shape, because you'll need it.
In fact, 91% of hiring managers consider cover letters "valuable" when vetting potential employees, according to a study last year from OfficeTeam. Another 79% say they expect cover letters with resumes from people applying for a job, even though many resumes are now sent online.
"Although the job application process has increasingly moved online, the importance of a cover letter shouldn't be underestimated," says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam. "It often is the first opportunity to make a positive impression on hiring managers. It's also a chance to provide context for your resume, expand on key accomplishments and explain reasons for employment gaps or career changes."
Problems can start right up top on a cover letter, and often roll right through the rest of the document. Here are five of the biggest mistakes job applicants make when creating and submitting one:
Going on too long. Legendary author Ernest Hemingway once said brevity was key to his literary success, and he was rumored to have won a bet that he could write a story in six words (his entry: "For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.") Cover letter writers could learn from his example: Keep the letter to a single page. Hiring managers are busy and won't read a lengthy monologue on your life and career. Stick to the facts, and your accomplishments, in an organized fashion.