5 Cliché Cover Letter Lines to Avoid at All Costs
The first thing hiring managers see when they review your job application is your cover letter.
The cover letter is your best opportunity to stand out from the crowd and impress them right at the start.
Your cover letter must be unique and strong if you want to have a good first impression.
However, people keep writing the same uninteresting and boring cover letters again and again, despite realizing how important they can be in their job search.
A lackluster cover letter can throw you out of the race even if your resume is the strongest among all the candidates.
The most annoying part of any cover letter is the cliché lines candidates tend to write.
There are two main reasons job seekers repeat this critical mistake every time they apply for the job.
The first one is the common misconception that “no one reads the cover letter anyway.”
The second reason is that people do not want to get out of their comfort zones and try to write cover letters according to certain standards.
The most terrible advice someone can give you is that “nobody reads your cover letter.”
Your cover letter carries equal weight as your resume when a recruiter reviews your job application.
It is true that some companies manage a huge number of job applications through application tracking systems.
It does not, in any case, mean they are going to dump your cover letter simply because a machine has already scanned it.
It is more likely that your cover letter is just run of the mill and uninteresting.
Therefore, the hiring manager will immediately discard it even if he reads it.
Talking about the second reason, it is imperative for you to comply with certain standards. However, taking help of clichés will only damage your chances of getting a job.
There are only two requirements you have to meet in your cover letter.
You must briefly explain why you are the best man for the job and why the hiring manager needs to hire you.
Attaching standard cover letters which do not fulfill these requirements are totally worthless.
The recruiter will certainly forget your cover letter if it contains too many cliché lines and sentences.
There are actually two types of hiring managers, those who are perfectly okay with clichés and those who will reject such cover letters at first sight.
5 CLICHÉ COVER LETTER LINES TO AVOID
If you want to amaze the hiring manager and make your application unique, you must cut the following most cliché phrases from your cover letter.
“I am Applying for the Position”
In the years gone by, it was necessary for applicants to open their cover letter with this line because they had to apply for the job through letters and by contacting office secretaries.
The secretary or human resource assistant had to sort through letter after letter to shortlist candidates, making it really important to mention the position you are applying for at the start of the cover letter.
Nowadays, most companies are recruiting through their online portals or popular job boards. These portals clearly list positions vacant in a certain organization.
Therefore, you make it particularly clear which position you are interested in if you apply through such online portals.
Still, most candidates start their cover letter with the line, “I am applying for the position”, even if they are applying through a link or a job board.
Similarly, you may already have selected the job option if you are applying through a company’s website.
All these factors make this particular line the most counterintuitive and the worst possible thing to include in your cover letter.
Most hiring managers already know which position you have applied for.
No one is suggesting you should never mention the company or position or why you are the absolute best for the job.
In fact, you must always refer to the position you are interested in.
However, you will fail to stand out from countless other candidates if you keep on writing this cliché line in your cover letter.
In simple words, you cannot have a great first impression on the recruiter.
In addition, you will waste valuable space on your cover letter as well.
The purpose of your cover letter is to let the hiring manager know what you are really worth.
It must explain why you want the job and what you can really offer.
But you only have a few seconds to grab the hiring manager’s attention.
Therefore, you’ve got to start with a bang if you want the hiring manager to read the rest of the cover letter and remember it.
Showing your passion and the love for the company can go a long way to help you achieve your objective.
Similarly, listing your top attributes and accomplishments at the top of the cover letter is the perfect way to influence the decision of the hiring manager.
Some candidates go to the extent of starting their cover letter with a little bit of humor.
However, try to do some research about the company and its culture as well as the hiring managers to ascertain whether or not they appreciate a pint of humor.
Example One of a Poor Cover Letter
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am applying for the position of Content Manager in your organization. I have done Master in English Literature. I have more than 5 years of solid content writing experience. I believe I can be a good addition to your team.
Example One of a Good Cover Letter
I have been writing stories and speeches since I was 10 years of age. When I graduated from my university, I thought it was time to get paid for my passion. That is why I could not believe when I got an appointment from XYZ Company. Since then, I have worked really hard and acquired enough knowledge and experience to work in a company of repute and stature.
“I Am a Fast Learner”
The answer to this question is very simple. You want to convince the interviewer that you are the best fit for the job.
So, why include anything in the cover letter which conveys a totally opposite message.
It is not advisable to reveal your faults in any phase or part of your application including the cover letter.
The hiring manager will instantly understand you are striving to compensate for lack of your experience by reading lines like, “I am a fast learner.”
No doubt everyone has weaknesses but you should only focus on your strengths.
Anything that proves you don’t deserve the job is not worth including in the cover letter.
It is not a wise idea to undermine your suitability for the job.
Recruiters prefer candidates who are more confident about their skills and abilities.
Don’t give anything to the interviewer which presents you as a weak or wrong candidate for the job.
The hiring manager will never believe in your abilities if you yourself think you don’t have the right skill set or experience for the job.
It can also be quite tricky to transfer your experience to the relevant framework if you are looking to switch careers.
But this is exactly what you need to do.
Therefore, if you have any skill or experience which is directly or indirectly applicable to your desired role, consider sharing it in your cover letter.
For instance, the communication skills you acquired while working in a call center will always help you in your new role, regardless of the nature of the job and the company you want to join.
You cannot knock anyone’s hat off simply by saying that you learn fast.
Start your application with a story or statistic which actually shows how fast you really learn.
For example, mention if you have started to acquire a new skill relevant to the job.
Similarly, you can brag about your photogenic memory which enables you to learn new things in a jiffy.
Share various anecdotes from your previous roles which truly indicate how fast a learner you are.
Such types of stories and phrases are much more “sticky” than the bland and boring sentences like “I am a fast learner.”
Example Two of a Poor Cover Letter
I am applying for the position of Business Development Officer in Omnifoods (a fictional food company). Although I don’t have much experience in business development, I am a fast learner and I will learn the ins and outs of the field in a very short span of time if I am provided with a chance to prove my worth.
Example Two of a Good Cover Letter
My name is Stephen Julian. I am quite sure I am your next Communication Manager. Although I do not have much experience in the field yet the time I have spent in the sales and marketing field has given me some of the transferable skills and experiences which I can apply to my desired role. Similarly, I am also taking a course in Communication Management from XYZ College.
“I Believe I am the Best Person for the Job”
This line makes you look like an arrogant, ignorant person and a fool at the same time to the hiring managers.
How do you exactly know you are the best man for the job?
How can you make this assumption?
Have you reviewed applications of all the other candidates?
What if there are candidates who are twice or thrice as experienced as you?
What if their cover letters or resumes are better written and formatted than that of yours?
The point is that you cannot make the assertion that you are the best man for the job on your own.
Daydreaming is definitely allowed, but it should never cloud your thinking and judgment.
There will always be candidates who possess more experience and skills than you.
The hiring manager or your prospective boss may have other requirements which you are totally unaware of.
Maybe you are the most experienced candidate, but the company is looking for someone younger and more energetic.
Similarly, the company has budget constraints and it is looking to hire a cheaper resource.
Or, the company may not hire you despite all of your credentials because they are considering awarding the job to one of their own employees.
It is worth mentioning that “best” is only a subjective term.
So, only include statements and facts which are true to the best of your knowledge.
Instead of mentioning you are the best candidate, you can explain why you are personally drawn to the organization.
Briefly elaborate why you think your experience and skills are a perfect match to the desired job description.
The hiring manager will inevitably determine from all these things that you are indeed the best man for the job.
Example Three of a Poor Cover Letter
I have read your ad for the position of Assistant Accounts Officer. I believe I am the best man for the job because I am young (only 24 years old) and already have strong experience which you can use.
I am patiently waiting for an interview call which I am sure you will certainly make. We will talk further about our future partnership in the interview.
Example Three of a Good Cover Letter
I was thrilled to see your post for the position of English Teacher in Global Private School. I am a licensed English teacher with more than 5 years of experience, providing excellent educational services to students from grade 6 to grade 10. I would love to put my skills to work for your prestigious school.
In reference to your requirements in the job description:
- I am able to speak clearly to the students.
- I explain unfamiliar concepts and new ideas in a clear and concise way.
- I have excellent instructional skills.
- I have excellent writing skills.
- I have experience in preparing and delivering classroom lectures.
- I can perfectly evaluate students’ classwork and assignments.
“This Job is Exactly What I Want”
This phrase does send a positive message to the hiring manager.
You are trying your best to show that you are enthusiastic about getting the job.
You also want to tell the hiring manager that you are applying for the job for all the right reasons such as your deep interest in the role, your passion for the organization and you desire to be a part of a faced-paced and dynamic work environment.
Depending upon the hiring managers and the company, all these things can have a negative impact on your application as well.
First of all, it shows that you are trying to figure out what the company can do for you instead of what you can offer them.
Secondly, writing these kinds of sentences increase the redundancy of your cover letter.
It also makes it more of an ordinary cover letter which human resource professionals receive on a daily basis.
The better approach is to explain what you can do for the company if they eventually hire you.
In addition to highlighting your duties and achievements of the past, you must also explain what you are capable of doing for them in the future.
A very good technique is to make a list of all the requirements and the priorities of the job you want to get.
Subsequently, make it crystal clear to the hiring manager how you are going to meet all these requirements and deliver the goods on the job priorities.
You can create a separate section in the cover letter where you would list everything you specifically intend to do once you land the job.
Similarly, do expand on all of your skills which directly relate to the priority areas of the position.
Never include this particular line, “This job is exactly what I want” because you cannot predict the future.
You do not know what lies ahead and how things will turn out.
The job which seems to be a “perfect fit” to your skills and personality may actually become a nightmare for you.
Therefore, you should actually refrain from using such phrases in your cover letter.
On the other hand, always focus on your skills and how you can become an asset to your desired company.
Example Four of a Poor Cover Letter
I am applying for the position of a psychiatrist in your health center. I have been dreaming of becoming a psychiatrist all my life. After going through your job description, I believe this is the job I want. Therefore, I will join in the first instance if you do offer me the job.
Example Four of a Good Cover Letter
It is my great pleasure to apply for the position of a psychiatrist in your health center. I would love to avail the opportunity to become an enthusiastic and caring psychiatrist for KSM Healthcare Services. After reading your job description, I believe I can excel in this position and contribute heavily to the greater cause your health center is pursuing.
“I Think Outside the Box”
Everyone tries to portray himself as a creative person in his cover letter.
Most candidates usually resort to using a cliché line in an attempt to express how creative they are?
The hiring manager will develop a bad taste for you the instance he reads this line.
After all, you could be at least a little more creative with your cover letter if you do think outside the box.
How do you expect a recruiter to believe you are a creative person when you are using the exact same line which thousands, if not millions, of candidates include in their cover letters?
So, what you should do to show your creativity to the recruiters? You can find a new and original way to look creative.
For example, you can refer to some of the occasions your creativity helped your previous organization generate more revenue and profit.
Or, you can also provide concrete proofs of the times you really saved the day for your boss. Or, you can simply make your cover letter more creative and ingenious.
A good approach is to write your own job description which is more interesting than the one provided by the company.
You can catch the recruiter by surprise and grab his attention by starting your cover letter with a funny or witty sentence as well.
Example Five of a Poor Cover Letter
If you are looking for a creative person to fill the position of Social Media Specialist in Peter Media then I offer my services to you. I have almost 10 years of experience in social media management. However, what separates me from the rest is my ability to think out of the box. According to my previous boss, I was the most creative member of my team.
Example Five of a Good Cover Letter
My name is Stephanie McGill and I want to join your company as a Content Writer. I am not only an experienced and skillful content writer but a very creative one as well. Let me give you an example of my creativity from one of my previous roles. When I was working for Acumen Writers, I pitched the idea of launching a new social campaign through a series of videos. The boss accepted my idea and as a result, the campaign considerably increased the company’s followers and improved its reviews.
The way you write a cover letter today is totally different from how it was done just a decade ago.
Gone are the days when the cover letters with cliché lines and sentences would still yield desired results for you.
Nowadays, you must let go standard formulations in your cover letter and make it wittier and future-oriented.
It should also be devoid of fluff, but you must focus on your key strengths. It has to be strong and exciting to read.
Finally, it should have the power to motivate the recruiters to hire you.
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