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A great cover letter can open the door to a fulfilling new opportunity in the IT field, but be careful. While your cover letter can get you past the first gateway in the application process, it can also hold you back, especially if it contains any of these common blunders.

1. Obvious standardization

It’s perfectly okay to cut and paste most of the text of your cover letter into the letter you use for you next application, and the one after that, etc. In fact, using a template can be a very smart move, since it saves time and allows you to apply for multiple positions in a day instead of just one or two. But watch out—While you change the first sentence, the last and a few in the middle to reflect each specific company and position you pursue, don’t let your letter sound like part of a carpet bombing campaign. Tailor your words with discretion and common sense.

2. Poor organization, formatting, and writing skill

Make sure your letter flows smoothly from one thought to the next. Remember what you learned in Composition 101 about constructing an argument. State your primary case clearly and back up that case with evidence delivered point by point. As you do this, make sure your language is fluid and your tone is personable without being too formal or informal.

3. Abstractions and empty buzzwords

Try not to describe yourself as “success-driven”, a “go-getter”, a “team-player”, or a “winner”. Be careful with terms like “energetic” and “highly motivated.” These terms apply to everyone, not just you. They’re meaningless, and they don’t say anything about your abilities, your ambitions, or your specific experience. Skip these and replace them with language and terms that refer to you alone and are drawn from specific elements of your background.

4. Skipping specifically requested details

Read through the job posting and look carefully for any details these employers specifically request from all applicants. If you’ve been asked to provide a point-by-point work history, your geographic location, your years of experience in a specific industry environment, or your expected salary, make sure these items have a place in your letter. But note: if you haven’t been asked for salary information, DON’T include this. Doing so can seriously weaken your position at the bargaining table later on.

Need specific editing help or additional guidance with the application process? Reach out the IT staffing experts at Tech Needs. We have the experience and connections you need to land the IT job you’re looking for.

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