Five Common Cover Letter Words and Phrases That Could Cost You the Job

Once you’ve spent the proper amount of time perfecting your resume, you might think that you’re finished, but you’re not. It’s important to always include a cover letter with your resume to personalize it to the position you’re applying for. Proofreading is an absolute must. There are a handful of words and phrases you might have included in your cover letter that are sabotaging your chances.

“I Think I’d…”

Take some time to think back to high school English class and the advice your teacher probably gave you about writing essays. Using opinion phrases such as “I think,” “I’m confident,” “I feel,” and “I believe” are redundant, and can make you sound insecure. Instead, remove the opinions.

Example: Restructure “I think my leadership skills make me a strong supervisor” with “My leadership skills make me a strong supervisor.”


One of the most common words found in cover letters is “good.” It’s easy to say you’re “a good communicator,” or “a good team player.” However, there is a massive variety of adjectives that have much more power behind them. Just ensure whichever alternative you use correctly represents your skills. Here are some alternative adjectives you can consider.

  • Talented
  • Efficient
  • Seasoned
  • Skilled
  • Successful
  • Capable
  • Apt
  • Enthusiastic
  • Experienced

“This Position Could Help Me Because…”

Many people in your life are going to care why a particular job could help you, but the majority of recruiters don’t. Most hiring managers care about securing the employee that is best for the role, and they aren’t interested in hearing about how the duties are going to develop your skills further, or teach you about the industry.

When writing your cover letter, it’s crucial that you explain why you’re applying for that specific role. However, there is a magic formula that you can use. Explaining your abilities in conjunction with the company’s needs provide desirable cover letter results.

“As My Resume Says…”

Filler phrases are common when writing cover letters. If the recruiter is already able to see it on your resume, announcing it again isn’t necessary. By just removing the “as my resume says…” from the sentence, you’re projecting confidence and professionalizing your cover letter.

Example: “As my resume says, I’ve been working in IT for the last four years,” should be corrected to, “I’ve been working in IT for the last four years.”

“I’m the Ideal Candidate Because…”

Being enthusiastic and confident in your cover letter is excellent, though arrogance is quickly noticeable and often not dismissed. There’s no way for you to know that you are the ideal candidate. Choose descriptors for yourself that stay away from “ideal,” “best,” and “perfect.” There’s plenty of other alternatives you can use.

  • Unique
  • Terrific
  • Fantastic
  • Great
  • Capable
  • Strong
  • Promising

Writing out a strong cover letter isn’t easy, and it takes time to ensure the letter you write fits perfectly with the position you are applying for, especially if you apply for multiple roles. While it does take time and you do need to put proper thought into it, the reward of getting an interview and possibly hired on with the company of your dreams makes the hard work well worth it.

Do you have any advice for those new to writing cover letters? Leave a comment.


Five Common Cover Letter Words and Phrases That Could Cost You the Job

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