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10 Completely Wrong Ways to Write a Cover Letter

Be Generic

Once you write a killer cover letter, why change it? Because every company is different, as is every position within a company, and hiring specialists who read hundreds of cover letters can easily tell if yours is generic or carefully crafted for their specific company and their specific position. And guess which one they'll prefer? Furthermore, 44 percent of business execs polled by online job site Career Builder said job applicants typically use their cover letters to show what they've learned about the available job -- meaning 56 percent (more than half) don't. So if you do tailor your cover letter to each company and its advertised position, you'll stand out above more than half of your competition [source: Career Builder].

It's not that difficult to personalize each cover letter. Remember, covers letters shouldn't be longer than a page, so you only have to plug in a few sentences about the company and its position to show you care enough to go the extra mile. This information can often be found on the company Web site or through a quick call.