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It's no secret that the first impression potential employers often get of an applicant is through their cover letter. The purpose of such letters is not only to get a read on an applicant's background, but also to check out their writing styles, how well they follow direction, and why they have a specific interest in this position.  As a hiring manager in a recent article on Slate explains, "writing a good cover letter is your best shot at getting noticed. If I hate a cover letter, I won’t even look at the résumé."

So how do you go about making sure that your cover letter not only imparts all necessary information, but is strong enough to get you through to the next round? Slate suggests steering away from the 12 big mistakes that they see all the time from applicants, including:

  1. Keep it short - Work on being able to sell yourself and explain your interest in the company all in one page. Employers typically don't have the time or patience to much more than that.
  2. Avoid awkward phrasing - Conversational is much better than stilted and overly formal. Try “I'm excited to be writing to you to apply for this position" instead of something clumsier like "With this statement, I declare my interest in the position."
  3. Remember to be your best advocate - Steer clear of statements such as "“I am sure you are getting many qualified applicants for this job, many of whom are more qualified than I.” Believe that you are the best fit for the job and the hiring manager is more likely to, as well.  

Additionally, many survivors are anxious about gaps in their resumes and see the cover letter as an opportunity to explain them away.  However, while the gap is weighing heavily on your mind, experts advise that you don’t address it in your cover letter – instead focus on why you are great for that position right now (which falls in line with being your best advocate).

For more thoughts on whether or not you should disclose your diagnosis in a cover letter, check out this great Career Coach post. And to find out all 12 mistakes to avoid, read the entire Slate article here.  

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