5 Cover Letter Clichés To Avoid

December 15, 2014


When you start your job search it can be very easy to focus most of your attention on your CV – it’s important to make sure your CV is up to scratch, but don’t let this get in the way of creating a stand-out cover letter. You have to remember that the cover letter will be the first thing that your recruiter/potential employer will see so you need to make a great first impression.

You might not realize it, but it can be very easy to slip into the typical cover letter clichés if you’re not careful – and trust me, these things just annoy recruiters/potential employers. With this in mind, we’ve come up with five cover letter clichés to avoid.

5 Cover Letter Clichés To Avoid image shutterstock 142533838 300x212.jpgBusiness Jargon

When writing your cover letter, you’re always going to use a little bit of business terminology to a certain extent, however, you need to try and avoid using cheesy phrases that just come across as cringe worthy. Not sure what I mean by cheesy phrases? Here are a select few that we’ve come across: “team work is my middle name,” “I can work independently,” and “highly motivated.”

All these phrases have no substance behind them and an employer will have a certain level of expectation, one of these being that you can work independently. Saying that you’re motivated is all well and good, but you need to state why you’re so motivated. Once again, it’s just words on a page.

Talking About Yourself In Third Person

Talking about yourself in third person is surprisingly a common one, but we can’t express enough how wrong it is. It can also seem very impersonal talking about yourself as “he” or “she.”

You want your CV to be personal and show a little bit of your personality; you don’t want it to sound like a news report. So avoid the third person at all costs – it’s just a little freaky if nothing else!

Too Generic

A lot of people tend to write their cover letter and just send the same one to each employer with the starting phrase “Dear Sir/Madam” and a generic overview of their talents. This will not get you the job!

First up, you need to try and find a contact name if possible, you then need to research the company and state why you’d be a good fit. After that, go through the job spec with a fine tooth comb and highlight the key skills they’re looking for and mention them. An employer wants you to put a bit of effort in, because if you’re not willing to do it in the application process, then why would they presume you’re going to suddenly start working hard if you were to get the job?

Overselling Yourself

When writing your cover letter you’re going to have to boast a little and showcase your talents – that’s a given. But you don’t want to go overboard, especially if you’re actually telling a bit of a porky pie. Say you’re going for a digital marketing role, and you’ve said on your cover letter that you’re an expert at SEO, PPC, and Google Analytics – you need to make sure you are!

If you make it to interview, then the employer will smell a rat straight away as soon as they start asking you digital-orientated questions. So don’t oversell yourself and be honest – it can be very easy to go a bit overboard when writing your cover letter but don’t run that risk.


If you’ve been looking for a job for a long time it can be very easy to come across as desperate in your cover letter. Try not to use big business words unnecessarily, as it just looks like you’re overthinking it a bit too much. The aim is to sound like you know what you’re talking about whilst sounding natural – so just be yourself!

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