5 Cover Letter Blunders

Successful cover letters don’t just flatter recruiters and hardsell yourself. Find out what you should avoid in a cover letter for an internship or graduate job and why.
The gradsingapore Team

Never write only one generic cover letter for multipurpose use! Each job posting has its own requirements, so you have to showcase that you have the relevant skills and experience to add value to the company. What this means is that you probably won’t be able to finish your cover letter in one sitting.

More importantly, don’t let all your effort go to waste by including clichéd statements! Keep an eye out for these statements when writing your cover letter so that you don’t come across as an unprepared applicant.

Also, recruiters use cover letters to gauge your communication skills, so try and be as succinct as possible when conveying your points.

Never say: “I can’t convey on paper just how excited I am about this opportunity!”

What you think you’re saying: “I’m very excited about this vacancy, and I hope I get it!”

What a recruiter may think: “Either you don’t know why you want this job or you have trouble expressing yourself.”

What you should be saying instead: 

  • Avoid umbrella statements
  • Include specific reasons/motivations for your application
  • Make sure that they’re specific to the role you’re applying for!

Never say: “My skills and past experience will allow me to excel in any role/task with your company.”

What you think you’re saying: “My skills and past experience show that I have what it takes to do the role well.”

What a recruiter may think: “…yeah, but can you do this role well?”

What you should be saying instead: 

  • Detail how your skills and experiences can be applied to the job on offer
  • Pick specific projects/tasks from past work experiences
  • Remember to share quantifiable results from those projects!

Never say: “I’d love to work at a prestigious and vibrant company such as yourselves.”

What you think you’re saying: “You’re a well-known employer – you’re really good at what you do, and I’d get a lot out of working for you! Plus, it can't hurt to flatter you too, right?”

What a recruiter may think: “So? I’m sure our competitors are ‘prestigious’ and ‘vibrant’ as well. It doesn’t seem like you want to work for us in particular.”

What you should be saying instead: 

  • Contrary to popular belief, flattery gets you no where!
  • Do your research and write about specific strengths of the company/role that appeal most to you
  • For e.g., talk about a project they’ve taken on that you’re impressed about, or their training opportunities for new recruits

Never say: “I'm really excited to see how much I can grow working with you.” 

What you think you’re saying: “I’m a driven individual who really wants to develop myself further!”

What a recruiter may think: “…well, it feels like we’re nothing more than just a stepping stone for you.”

What you should be saying instead: 

  • Don’t make everything about you!
  • Avoid talking about what the company can do for you
  • Describe how you can contribute to the company instead

Never say: “I have great atttention to detial!” [sic]

What you think you’re saying: “I have great attention to detail!”

What a recruiter may think: “... Seriously?!”

What you should be saying instead: 

  • Nothing! It’s safer not to state it at all, and just let recruiters assess your attention to detail through the accuracy of your application.