These 5 Words and Phrases Should Not Be in Your Cover Letter

By Kelsey Lange on February 8, 2017

Being able to edit yourself is one of the hardest tasks as a writer, especially with writing that may be a gateway to opportunities. Writing a cover letter can seem scary, but the first thing to do is to get what you need to say out on the page. Just because this will be used for your job search does not mean you should take an entirely different approach. That is where you may become uncomfortable and it will not sound the way you want it to sound. Stick to your voice and style of writing.

While you work on your rough draft there are plenty of examples available online that you can base your own letter around. However, be sure not to plagiarize, and make it your own. This can benefit you greatly; employers do not want to see the same cover letter over and over. Write your letter in a way that will make you stand out. Try to stay away from boring language and appear confident. This is where you can sell yourself to the employer, rather than through listed facts on a resume.

Most importantly you want your voice to come through your writing; this is where you can draw the reader into wanting to know more about you. If you are applying for a writing position, this is extremely important to do. Your cover letter is the first writing sample your potential employer will see, so make it count. Do not slack off because it can seem tedious. Let your writing speak for itself and encourage the reader to continue on with your application rather than throwing it out. If you have a spelling or grammatical error your entire job application may be thrown out on the spot.

Also, be sure to include why you are interested in the position in the first place. Tell them how you found information about applying and list a little information about the organization. This way they know you have already done prior research. This can immediately set you aside from other resumes that are not as strong and only talk about why the job will be good for them. Let them know why you will be an asset to their company, rather than how it will benefit you.

Now, once your first draft has been written, open a new document or grab a pen and paper. This is where you should write down these five words or phrases:


•Dealt with

•Responsibilities included


•A lot of

“Job” should be deleted from your cover letter altogether because it is insinuated this is what you are applying for. You do not need to use the word job because it begins to sound redundant and boring. For example, do not begin your cover letter with, “I am applying for the job because” and rather say something along the lines of, “I have learned that you are hiring for an editing position.” Always be as specific as you can be.

When describing your past experience in the work world try to avoid using the phrase “dealt with.” There is almost always a better way to say this, or just omit the phrase altogether. Remember to get straight to the point as much as you can.

“Responsibilities included” is one of those phrases that is on thousands of other cover letters. Knowing this, you want to stay away from phrases similar to this and, like the phrase “dealt with,” try to cut to the chase straight away and begin your sentences by talking about your responsibilities. This will be more impactful.

“Very” and “a lot of” go hand in hand. It is easy to add words to your sentences to make your experience sound more important, but it comes off as weak writing. For example, instead of saying “very hard,” say “challenging.” Staying away from filler words like these forces you to find a stronger, more impactful word. Online thesauruses are great for this.

Feel free to add your own words to the list. Most writers have a specific weakness when it comes to phrases or words to fall back on. This is where you can call yourself out. Even if it is not a specific word, maybe you struggle with run-on sentences. Making a point to go back and edit your own mistakes makes a huge difference. This can be used when you write anything important, not only your cover letter.

Make sure that you are spending equal amounts of time on other documents you might be including in your job application. A strong resume is something you should be confident in attaching in an email. Just remember to constantly update it; this can only benefit you and your chances at getting an interview or potentially a job.

A final tip on cover letter writing is to always finish strong. This includes requesting an interview to discuss your qualifications, asking them to contact you at their convenience, and thanking them for their time. If you are feeling daring you could even tell the company that you will be calling them in a few days to discuss setting up an interview. Leave a good first impression before you have met them. This way you can go into any interview with confidence.

Hi! I am a Professional Writing major at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania and will graduate in May. The past four years have expanded my knowledge in all aspects of this field and fueled my passion for writing. I have had six poems published in Kutztown University's Shoofly literary magazine within the past three years. I am also a contributing copy editor and poetry reader for the magazine. I am ecstatic to have articles published for Uloop News while interning this semester.

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