How These 7 Cover Letter Words and Phrases Are Ruining Your Job Chances

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How These 7 Cover Letter Words and Phrases Are Ruining Your Job Chances

When it comes to applying for a job, a well-crafted cover letter is essential. It’s your chance to introduce yourself to potential employers and highlight why you’re the best candidate for the role. However, there are certain words and phrases that can actually hinder your chances of landing that dream job.

In this article, we will be discussing seven common cover letter words and phrases that are often used incorrectly or overused. By avoiding these mistakes, you can increase your chances of standing out from the competition and securing an interview.



One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is using generic phrases that don’t provide any insight into their specific field or industry. It’s important to tailor your cover letter to each position you apply for, highlighting your relevant experience and skills. By doing so, you show employers that you have a genuine interest in the role and that you’ve taken the time to research the company and its industry.

Another mistake is using vague and overused words like “top-scoring” or “things” that don’t provide any meaningful information about your qualifications. Instead, focus on specific achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your skills and abilities. For example, instead of saying “I’m a top-scoring front-end engineer,” you could say “I successfully completed an apprenticeship at a top web development company, where I learned how to design and build user-friendly websites.”

It’s also important to avoid using cliché phrases like “I’m a natural leader” or “I have excellent communication skills.” These descriptors are often overlooked and don’t provide any real evidence of your abilities. Instead, use specific examples to demonstrate how you’ve successfully demonstrated leadership or communication skills in previous roles. This shows employers that you’re capable of contributing to their team and that you have the necessary qualities to excel in the position.

Finally, be sure to proofread your cover letter before submitting it. Grammatical errors and typos can make a negative impression on potential employers and may cause them to question your attention to detail. Take the time to carefully review your letter, and consider asking a friend or family member to read it as well.



By following these tips and avoiding these common mistakes, you can increase your chances of landing that dream job. Good luck!

Overused buzzwords can hurt your chances

When it comes to writing a cover letter, using certain buzzwords and phrases can actually do more harm than good. These overused terms may sound impressive and professional, but they often come across as generic and can make you blend in with other candidates rather than stand out. To increase your chances of landing the job, avoid using these buzzwords and instead focus on showcasing your unique skills and experiences.

Your work experiences should speak for themselves

Instead of simply stating that you are a “hard worker” or “team player,” take the opportunity to demonstrate these qualities through specific examples. For instance, you could mention a time when you proactively sought out additional tasks to further contribute to a project’s success. By providing concrete anecdotes that highlight your work ethic and ability to collaborate, you can make a stronger impression on the hiring manager.



Show, don’t just tell

Phrases like “I am a fast learner” or “I am eager to learn” are commonly used in cover letters, but they lack depth and can be seen as vague. Instead of making generalized statements, focus on specific instances where you took the initiative to learn and grow professionally. Discuss how you utilized new skills or techniques to solve a problem or optimize a process, providing evidence of your ability to adapt and thrive in new situations.

Tailor your cover letter to the position

While it may be tempting to use a generic cover letter template that you’ve used before, this can be a missed opportunity to highlight your fit with the specific company and role. Take the time to research the company and understand their values, mission, and goals. Then, craft your cover letter to reflect your knowledge and show how your skills align with what they are looking for. This level of personalized effort will make a stronger impression on employers compared to a generic cover letter.

Avoid: Use Instead:
“Hard worker” “I consistently prioritize my tasks and have a track record of meeting deadlines.”
“Team player” “I have successfully collaborated with cross-functional teams to deliver projects.”
“Fast learner” “I quickly adapted and became proficient in new technologies during my previous internship.”
“Eager to learn” “I actively seek new opportunities for growth and continuously learn from my experiences.”
“Detail-oriented” “I have a strong attention to detail, as evidenced by my ability to identify and resolve issues before they become problems.”

By avoiding these overused buzzwords and focusing on showcasing your unique experiences and skills, you can craft a compelling cover letter that sets you apart from other candidates. Remember to always tailor your letter to the specific company and role, highlighting the relevance of your background and demonstrating how you can bring value to their team.

Avoid generic phrases in your cover letter

When crafting your cover letter, it’s important to avoid using generic phrases that could hinder your chances of landing a job offer. Employers are looking for candidates who can offer something unique and valuable to their company, so it’s essential to avoid generic phrases that don’t demonstrate your skills or experiences.

One common mistake job seekers make is using phrases like “I am a hard worker” or “I am a team player.” While these qualities are important, they don’t provide any specific information about how you execute tasks or how you interact with others. Instead, focus on providing concrete examples of how you’ve successfully answered to your previous manager’s needs, executed tasks above and beyond expectations, or helped the company excel in some way.

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It’s also important to avoid using phrases like “I’m looking for a challenging position” or “I’m interested in gaining experience.” These phrases don’t tell the employer anything about why you’re a good fit for the position or what makes you stand out from other candidates. Instead, demonstrate your knowledge of the company by researching their recent projects or accomplishments, and show how your skills and experiences align with their needs and goals.

Another common mistake is relying too much on clichés and generic statements like “I am a highly skilled professional” or “I have excellent communication skills.” While these may be true, they don’t provide any evidence to support these claims. Instead, use specific examples or quantifiable achievements that highlight your skills and abilities. For example, you could mention how you successfully managed a team of 13 employees or how you increased sales by 20% through your strategic approach.

Remember, cover letters are an opportunity to showcase your personality and professional abilities, so don’t be afraid to be authentic and let your true self shine through. Be concise, confident, and compelling in your writing, and tailor your letter to each specific job application. Hiring managers will see right through generic phrases and will have a much better perception of you if your cover letter is tailored and speaks directly to their needs and requirements.

Throughout the cover letter, make use of key words and phrases that are relevant to the position you’re applying for. This will help demonstrate that you’ve done your research and understand what the employer is looking for. For example, if the job posting mentions problem-solving and critical thinking skills as necessary qualifications, make sure to highlight these skills in your cover letter.

By avoiding generic phrases, tailoring your cover letter, and showcasing your unique skills and experiences, you’ll have a much better chance of standing out from other candidates and securing that job offer. Remember to stay professional, be concise, and make a compelling case for why you’re the best fit for the position.

The importance of being specific and unique

Firstly, using generic phrases makes your cover letter sound scripted and not unique to you. Hiring managers are often reviewing numerous applications, and if yours sounds like it was copied and pasted, it will quickly lose its impact. Instead, aim to be specific and tailor your cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for. This will show that you have taken the time to research the company and understand its needs.

Furthermore, being specific allows you to showcase your qualifications and experiences in a more thoughtful manner. Instead of simply stating that you have experience as a designer, for example, you can provide specific examples of projects you have worked on and the valuable contributions you made. This helps hiring managers gain a better understanding of your skills and abilities and makes you stand out among other applicants.

In addition, using specific and unique language can improve the readability of your cover letter. When your letter is easy to read, hiring managers can quickly grasp the relevance of your skills and experiences to the role they are looking to fill. This not only makes their job easier, but also demonstrates your ability to communicate effectively.

Lastly, being specific and unique in your cover letter shows your confidence and enthusiasm for the job. It conveys that you have a genuine interest in the position and are motivated to excel in it. This can make a significant impression on hiring managers and increase your chances of being considered for the role.

Stand out with powerful action verbs

Using impactful action verbs in your cover letter can greatly enhance your chances of standing out among other candidates and securing the employment offer you’ve been striving for. Here are 11 reasons why you should always prioritize using strong action verbs:

  1. They create a clear and concise message: By using action verbs, you can easily convey your skills and experiences in a shorter and more powerful manner.
  2. They show your confidence: Using action verbs demonstrates your ability to take charge and perform effectively in any given situation.
  3. They make your accomplishments more impressive: Action verbs help highlight the significant impact you’ve had in your previous roles or projects.
  4. They provide evidence of your abilities: By including action verbs, you offer concrete proof of your capabilities and make it easier for employers to see why you’re a suitable candidate.
  5. They showcase your expertise: Action verbs related to your field of expertise demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the industry.
  6. They appeal to employers’ expectations: Recruiters and hiring managers expect candidates to use action verbs to describe their experiences and accomplishments.
  7. They make your cover letter more memorable: Using unique and powerful action verbs can help you leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager.
  8. They demonstrate your communication skills: Employing action verbs shows that you can effectively communicate your ideas and experiences.
  9. They align with what employers want: Action verbs highlight the qualities and skills that employers are looking for in potential candidates.
  10. They help you stand out in a competitive job market: By using strong action verbs, you differentiate yourself from other applicants and increase your chances of getting an interview.
  11. They show that you’ve done your research: Using action verbs specific to the company or industry indicates that you’ve taken the time to study and understand the organization.

Show, don’t tell: using concrete examples in your cover letter

When writing a cover letter, it’s important to go beyond simply telling employers about your skills and experiences. Instead, you should show them through concrete examples. By providing specific instances where you have applied your skills, you can demonstrate your abilities and make a stronger case for why you are suited for the job.

One useful way to do this is by discussing your work history and the projects you have completed. Rather than just stating that you are a designer, for example, mention specific design projects you have worked on and the impact they had on the company. By focusing on the results you achieved through your work, you can show employers that you have a history of success and are capable of delivering tangible results.

Another way to demonstrate your skills is by talking about how you have fostered growth and development within your previous positions. For instance, if you have managed a team, discuss how you implemented a step-by-step process to refine their work and improve their skills. By highlighting your ability to mentor and guide others, you can show employers that you are not only a strong candidate but also a valuable asset who can contribute to the growth of the company.

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In addition to discussing your past experiences, it’s important to mention your knowledge of the company and its goals. By doing some research about the company and referring to its mission statement or recent achievements in your cover letter, you can show employers that you have taken the time to understand their organization and have a genuine interest in working with them. This level of thoughtfulness and focused attention can make a significant impact and set you apart from other candidates.

Throughout your cover letter, make sure to use clear and concise language to convey your ideas effectively. Avoid copying phrases or sections from the job description and instead, find ways to explain your experiences and skills in your own words. This will not only demonstrate your ability to think independently but also improve the readability and overall quality of your letter.

Key takeaways:

  • Use concrete examples to demonstrate your skills and experiences.
  • Discuss your work history and the impact you’ve had on previous companies.
  • Talk about how you have fostered growth and development within your previous positions.
  • Research the company and mention its goals and achievements.
  • Avoid copying phrases or sections from the job description.

By following these tips, you can create a cover letter that stands out and showcases your qualifications effectively. Good luck in your job search!

How to answer “What interests you about this position” with examples

  • Example 1: One of the main reasons I am interested in this position is because of the opportunity to work with a company like Teal’s. I have been following Teal’s innovative approach to graphic design for some time now, and I am excited about the chance to contribute to such a forward-thinking and creative team.
  • Example 2: I am particularly drawn to this position because it aligns with my passion for writing and content generation. Throughout my internship, I honed my writing and grammar skills, and I believe that my expertise would be a valuable asset to the team. I am eager to contribute to Teal’s marketing efforts and help create engaging and compelling content for its customers.
  • Example 3: The progression opportunities within this company are also very appealing to me. As an entry-level candidate, I am looking for a role that will allow me to grow and develop my skills. Teal’s reputation for fostering a strong mentorship program and providing opportunities for career advancement is something that really stood out to me.

When answering this question, it is essential to be honest and genuine. Interviewers can tell when candidates are giving cookie-cutter responses or simply regurgitating information from the company’s website. Instead, focus on connecting your own interests and experiences with the specific aspects of the job and the company. By doing so, you will show the interviewer that you have put thought into your answer and are genuinely excited about the opportunity.

Remember, the key is to speak directly to what interests you about the position. Rather than simply saying “good pay” or “great benefits,” talk about how the job aligns with your skills, interests, and career goals. Interviewers are looking for candidates who are genuinely passionate about the work they do, so be sure to show off your enthusiasm and unique perspective.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, the examples provided above can serve as a starting point for crafting your own response. Ultimately, the interviewer wants to see that you have thought through why you are interested in the position and how your skills and experiences make you a suitable fit for the role. By showcasing your genuine interest and enthusiasm, you will be able to make a strong impression and increase your chances of landing the job.

Research the company and position

Beforehand, you should answer the following questions:

  • What are the company’s mission and values?
  • What are their key projects, products, or services?
  • What qualities are they looking for in a candidate?
  • What is the hiring manager’s name and role?

By answering these questions, you will be able to tailor your cover letter to highlight how your skills and experiences align with the company’s needs. This will impress employers and make your application stand out from the competition.

It is also important to use specific examples in your cover letter to showcase your knowledge about the company. For example, you can mention a recent project or initiative that the company has implemented and explain how you can contribute to its success. This will demonstrate your attention to detail and your ability to effectively execute tasks.

Don’t make the mistake of using generic phrases like “I’m a hard worker” or “I’m a team player” without tying them to the specific company or position. These statements are irrelevant unless you can provide concrete examples of how you have demonstrated these qualities in the past.

In summary, taking the time to research the company and position before writing your cover letter is a key step in impressing employers and increasing your chances of landing the job. By identifying the company’s values, goals, and needs, you can tailor your cover letter to showcase how you can help them succeed. This will show employers that you are a valuable asset and increase your chances of getting an interview.

FAQ

How important is a cover letter in a job application?

A cover letter is an important part of a job application as it provides an opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and qualifications to a potential employer. It allows you to explain why you are interested in the position and how you would be a valuable asset to the company.

What are some alternatives to the phrase “I may not have a lot of experience but…”?

Instead of using the phrase “I may not have a lot of experience but…”, you can focus on highlighting your transferable skills, relevant coursework, internships, or volunteer work that demonstrate your abilities and potential. Additionally, you can express your eagerness to learn and grow in the position.

How can I make my cover letter stand out from others?

To make your cover letter stand out, you can tailor it to the specific job and company by researching the organization and mentioning specific details that align with your skills and goals. It is important to focus on your unique qualifications and accomplishments rather than using generic phrases. Additionally, proofreading for errors and formatting the letter professionally can make a positive impression on the employer.

What are some effective ways to introduce myself in a cover letter?

When introducing yourself in a cover letter, it is important to start with a strong opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. You can mention your interest in the job and the company, and briefly highlight relevant qualifications or experiences. Additionally, you can express enthusiasm for the position and briefly explain how your skills and background make you a good fit for the role.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.