Cover letters are the bane of the existence of most job seekers. They take a long time to compile mainly due to the fact that unlike a CV, each one has to be tailored to a prospective employer. Job seekers may despise them, but for most employers the cover letter is most often the defining factor when it comes to candidate selection. When it comes down to it, most CV’s look very much the same – work experience, education and achievements. Many candidates forget that these days’ recruiters are usually inundated with job applications, and due to time constraints only skim read CV’s. Cover letters on the other hand are given more attention, as recruiters know that this is where candidates have the best chance of showcasing their talents.
There are many books, blogs, and professional services offering advice on how to write a stellar cover letter. From the structured and conservative cover letter to the more risqué and controversial, we can find examples of them all. (See my very own blog post here). One simple aspect of cover letter writing that does not often garner enough attention is ensuring one uses the correct spelling and grammar.
Spelling and grammatical errors are the biggest cover letter blunder.
Sure, spelling is something which is easy to check. We all just revert to the spell-checker in Microsoft Word, and the job’s done. Nonetheless, spelling mistakes still creep through. For example, if one was meaning to type “with”, but instead types “wit”, Word would not flag this, as “wit” it also a word. It is for this reason that checking grammar is also of paramount importance. Another mistake I have seen a countless number of times on cover letters is mistaking the contracted version of “you are” (you’re) for the second person possessive adjective “your”. These types of errors are unforgivable in a cover letter, and are enough to get your letter binned. So, make sure you triple check your cover letter before sending it off, and if you are not confident doing it yourself, seek the services of a friend or a professional.
I have recently come across a nice little free spelling and grammar checking tool called Grammarly. Grammarly proofreads your text for issues relating to grammar, spelling, style, punctuation, and plagiarism.
Try Grammarly out for free here.