What Not to Include in a Cover Letter

cover letter is an important part of your job application. In some cases, employers require a cover letter to be submitted with your resume. In others, a cover letter is optional or not required. A cover letter can boost your application for a job.

The Purpose of a Cover Letter

In your cover letter it’s important to convey how your character, interests, motivations, knowledge, skills and experiences equip you to excel in the job.

What Not to Include in a Cover Letter

However, there is such a thing as too much information when it comes to cover letter writing. Your cover letter should be short, concise and focused on what you can offer the employer. You don’t need to share non-relevant information.

1. Any Spelling or Grammar Errors
Your cover letter is viewed as a sample of your ability as a writer and evidence of your attention to detail. Even a minor typo or error can knock you out of contention for the job.

2. The Wrong Company Name or the Wrong Name of the Contact Person
Double-check to be sure that you’ve addressed your cover letter to the correct person at the right organization. If you get it wrong, it is a tip-off that you are mass producing your documents and may lack attention to detail. 

3. Anything That Isn’t True
Facts can be checked and lies are grounds for rescinding offers and dismissing employees. I’ve heard from job seekers who were in a panic because they stretched the truth or outright lied in their cover letter or resume and didn’t know how to rectify it. You don’t want to be one of those people. Make sure your cover letter accurately reflects your qualifications for the job.

4. Paragraphs That Are Too Long
Employers will skip over your cover letter and move right to your resume if it is too difficult to read. Each paragraph of your letter should include 5 – 6 lines of text with no more than three sentences in each. 

5. Your Salary Requirements or Expectations
Don’t include salary requirements or expectations unless directed to do so by the employer. It’s important to demonstrate to the employer your interest in the job itself and not make it seem like money is your primary motivation.

6. Negative Comments About a Current or Past Employer
Avoid including any negative comments about your current or previous employer as part of why you are looking for work. Employers tend to view such comments as an indication of possible attitudes or performance problems. Keep your letter positive and focus on why you’re the right person for the job.

7. Information Not Related to the Job
Don’t include any text that is not directly related to your assets for the position or why it appeals to you. Empty language can distract the employer from your core messages. It’s better to write a short letter than one filled with irrelevant information.

8. Personal Information
The employer doesn’t need to know you want this job because of personal reasons. Keep your focus on the professional reasons you’d love to be hired, and keep the personal ones to yourself.


Keep in mind that your cover letter has one goal: to get you a job interview. Take time to match your qualifications carefully to the job requirements and to write a personalized cover letter that shows the hiring manager, at a glance, why you’re a terrific candidate.


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Mikocheni Warioba, Dar es Salaam