How Fatal Is This Cover Letter Mistake? – Job Search Radio

A person continues by writing, “Last week I sent out 8 cover letters, and today I realized instead of “I am writing to apply”, I wrote “I am applying to write”. Eek! How embarrassing. Would this be make or break for you? I haven’t heard back from them yet, but it’s only been a week so I wasn’t worried”


This is a question I read from someone; I think it’s a useful question because it speaks to the heart of mistakes people make with cover letters.

How fatal is this mistake?

Last week, I sent out 8 cover letters; today, I realized that instead of writing, “I am writing to apply,” I wrote, “I am applying to write.” How embarassing!

Would this be “make or break for you? I haven’t heard back from them but it has only been a week.

So the question is “how fatal is this mistake? As always, the answer is, “It depends.”

Depends on the nature of the job involved. Depends on whether anyone actually read your cover letter. For example, if you set it as an attachment, no one read it. It depends on the nature of the role; if you are applying for a writing job and you wrote that, it can be fatal. If you wrote for most positions, no one really cares.

They might gloss over it because people read resumes and cover letters in 6 seconds or less. In cover letters, it’s often less. If this was your “typical innocuous cover letter” sent as an attachment, no one read it. If this was a “typical innocuous letter” put into the body of an email, someone might have skimmed it quickly to see if there was something relevant in it (if it is like most cover letters, there is nothing relevant in it).

Frankly, I wouldn’t worry about it. What seems more damning is that it has been a week since you applied and no one has contacted you.You said, “only a week;” if you’re an experienced professional, that is usually the “kiss of death.” It would seem that your resume was the bigger problem, not your cover letter. If resumes don’t make the case for your candidacy, you’re not hearing from an employer. Employers only care about whether a resume “vaguely fits” what they are looking for.

So, I’m less concerned with the cover letter; I am more concerned that you haven’t gotten a response. The likelihood is you’re not going hear from them. Not having read your resume or seen the position description, I have no basis to judge why. They may have seen stronger people with tighter matches . . . many different reasons. Don’t worry about the mistake; it’s unlikely anyone noticed.

Do you think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

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