Say This, Not That: 5 Phrases to Strike From Your Cover Letter

Most job seekers already know how important it is to strike empty buzzwords from their resumes and replace them with accurate, vibrant terms that convey their accomplishments and goals. But fewer job seekers pay similar attention to their cover letters – at their peril.

Hiring managers turn to your cover letter to learn things they can’t learn in your resume. They want to know more, and they want to remember what they’ve read. Here’s how to make your cover letter readable and memorable by removing boring, overused phrasing and replacing it with substantial wording:

Instead of: “I think I’d be a great fit….”
Say: “I’d be a great fit because….”

“I think,” “I feel,” “I believe,” and similar phrases waste space, clutter up your cover letter, and make you sound indecisive and timid. Instead of “softening” your assertions, back them up with concrete examples. You’ll sound confident and educated instead of fearful.

Instead of: “I’m great at working with people….”
Say: “I help clients/customers/co-workers by….”

Adjectives like “great” and “good” don’t do much for hiring managers. They have only your word that this is true, and they are pretty bland words at that. Instead of piling on the descriptors, show how great you are at a particular skill by giving an example of you using that skill in the workplace. For instance, if you’re great at working with people, give an example of a time you greatly helped a client or co-worker.

Instead of: “This job would help me….”
Say: “I can help the company by….”

Hiring managers who read your cover letter have one question in mind: “Why should I hire this person?” They aren’t interested in helping you; they’re interested in how you can help them. Targeting your cover letter to the ways in which you can improve the company’s products, services, or operations immediately makes your cover letter stand out from the crowd.

Instead of: “As you can see on my resume….”
Say: “I’ve built experience through [specific projects]…”

Not only does the hiring manager already have your resume, chances are good the hiring manager has already skimmed it once before turning to your cover letter. Don’t waste space with this phrase; just cut it. “I’ve been working with open-source JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3 for the past four years” stands on its own.

Instead of: “I’m the best candidate because….”
Say: “I’m an outstanding candidate because….”

“Best” is an impossible sell because you don’t know who else is in the pool. Because it’s impossible, it comes across to most hiring managers as arrogant – especially because the hiring manager is the one determining which candidates are “best” to contact for an interview. Skip adjectives like “best,” “ideal,” and “perfect” in favor of equally strong yet defensible statements like “excellent,” “strong,” or “outstanding.”

At Marquee Staffing, our experienced recruiters connect job seekers to great employers throughout SoCal. Contact us today to learn more.

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