ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Basics of Cover Letters That Really Suck

Updated on August 27, 2020
crankalicious profile image

I've been a successful manager at a college retailer for over 28 years.

What's the Purpose of a Cover Letter?

The one and only purpose of the cover letter is to get the potential employer interested in your resume.

That means that you're qualified for the job for which you're applying because, if you're not, nothing you say in your cover letter is going to get you the job. In many ways, the cover letter is something of a formality, but a good writer can engage the reader and make him or her that much more interested in reading the resume. Likewise, there are many things a job applicant can do that will make the cover letter stand out as a warning to the reader to avoid the writer at all costs. Here are some of those things.

Don't do these in your cover letters or they will suck

Explore Your Prosaic Side

You're not in freshman creative writing. The cover letter isn't an opportunity to write the short story of your life. Frankly, it isn't even an opportunity to be creative with your prose. The cover letter is a business letter and, as such, should be written using declarative sentences and fairly concise language. The more you can say about why you're right for the job, the better. Don't get much more creative than that. Instead of writing something like "My entire life has led me to this moment and I've finally found the job that's right for me" write "My education and professional experience make me perfectly qualified for this position."

Use Colloquialisms or Curse

The cover letter is about you being professional. Neither using colloquial expressions nor profanity convey the sense that you are a professional. Here are a couple examples of the types of sentences to avoid: "Dude, I would be so awesome at this job" or "I left my last job because my boss was a butthole."

It's Longer Than a Page

Again, concise and to the point. These are qualities of a good cover letter. No matter how qualified you may be for a job, a cover letter of more than one page is wrong. Potential employers are reading hundreds of these letters a day and they don't want to read one that's more than a page. Writing one that's more than one page immediately singles you out as somebody who doesn't understand limits, among other things.

You Use Short-Handed Text-Messaging Abbreviations and Emoticons

LOL, it would be so fo funny if you did this, yo! :)

What's the most important part of a good cover letter?

See results

Here are Some More Cover Letter No No's. Don't Do These!

You Write it By Hand

Unless you're applying for a job teaching penmanship, there's no reason not to use modern technology for your cover letter. Also, most businesses use technology, like computers. If you write your cover letter by hand, you might be indicating that you don't know how to use a computer or a word processor. This is not a good thing.

Clearly Produced on a Typewriter

Typewriters generally have very recognizable type faces. And besides, who in the hell even owns a typewriter nowadays? For God's sake, even if you can't afford a computer, go to a public library or a print shop and rent a computer for a few hours.

Fill it With Typos

Take some time and read over your cover letter before you send it to anyone. Typos are inexcusable in a one-page document and just mean that you were too lazy to look the thing over before you sent it.

You Use Colored Paper

This isn't art class, Frida. White paper. Black type. Standard font.

You Use Some Wacky Font

Look, I think the thousands of fonts on my computer are really neat too, but only one or two of them are appropriate for a cover letter.

Covered in Stains

Cover letters sporting coffee rings are always a nice touch; a lovely signal to your potential employer that you couldn't care less about getting the job.

It's For The Wrong Job

It's for the wrong job - Sometimes when we're unemployed and desperate and just sending out resumes and letters to anybody offering a job, we get confused and put the wrong letter in the wrong envelope. Generally, if one employer gets a letter from you meant for another employer, they're going to toss it.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 Allen Donald


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)