Top Mistakes to Avoid in Your Graphic Design Cover Letter

Top Mistakes to Avoid in Your Graphic Design Cover Letter

A graphic design cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume when applying for a job in the design industry. It’s a chance to introduce yourself to the employer and demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the position. 

While you might think a cover letter is about you, it’s more about the employer. But you’re the subject matter. It’s all about what you can do for them, how well you fit their corporate culture, and how you can impact their bottom line. So even if you’re talking about yourself, highlight what your employer needs.

A well-written cover letter must connect the dots between what your hiring manager wants in a candidate to your accomplishments.

This blog post is meant to help you avoid the top five mistakes people make when writing a cover letter for a graphic design job application. Here, you’ll discover how to tailor your cover letter to the job, highlight your relevant experience and skills, proofread your letter, avoid generic phrases and buzzwords, and include a strong call to action.

Mistake 1: Not tailoring your cover letter to the job

One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing a cover letter is not personalizing it to the job. You don’t want to be part of the 54% who hiring managers see as a red flag for not customizing their cover letter to the job.

You will likely be considered for an interview if you personalize your cover letters. So, research the company and tailor your document to the specific job and employer you’re applying to.

Here are some tips for tailoring your cover letter to the job:

  • Address the letter to the hiring manager or recruiter by name.
  • Use keywords and phrases from the job description.
  • Mention any relevant accomplishments or projects.

Your cover letter must explicitly show what you can do for the company. Outlining any relevant information and using the same phrases used in the job description can help you ace your interview.

Mistake 2: Failing to highlight relevant experience and skills

Another mistake you should avoid in your graphic design cover letter is not highlighting relevant experience and skills. When reviewing resumes and cover letters, employers are more interested in seeing accomplishments than job duties.

To avoid this mistake, you should:

  • Show off your awards, achievements, or anything worthy of mentioning.
  • Write any relevant experience or projects you’ve worked on.
  • Demonstrate how your skills and experience align with the job requirements.

You can’t expect your employers to call you for an interview if they can’t get a clear sense of your qualifications. So instead of listing down your education and job history, showcase anything related to this role you’re applying for.

The marketing courses you took in college, the internships you’ve had, the extracurricular activities related to marketing, any verifiable digital credentials you’ve earned, mention those. So, when your recruiter sees that you’re the missing puzzle piece they’re looking for, they’re bound to call you right away.

Mistake 3: Making spelling and grammatical errors

Spelling and grammatical errors can make a bad first impression and show a lack of attention to detail. It’s not a good sign, especially since you’re applying to be a graphic designer. 

Think of it from your employer’s perspective. If they see you can’t spot any mistakes on your application document, how can they expect you to recognize any errors when designing for their company? Besides, there are tools for that now. Grammarly and Hemingway can catch any spelling or grammatical errors in your cover letter.

Here are some tips for avoiding spelling and grammatical errors:

  • Read your cover letter aloud to catch errors.
  • Ask someone else to proofread your cover letter.
  • Use spell check and grammar check tools.
  • Take a break between writing and proofreading to approach the letter with fresh eyes.

Having typos, run-on sentences, and misspelled names shows you’re careless and lack professionalism. Whatever job you’re vying for, a keen sight to detail is something most hiring managers look for in a candidate. So, take time to polish your cover letter to make a good impression.

Mistake 4: Using generic phrases and buzzwords

Using generic phrases and buzzwords can make your cover letter sound unoriginal and uninspired. Avoid using cliches like “detail-oriented” or “team player,” and focus on writing a cover letter emphasizing your unique skills and experience.

Here are some tips for avoiding generic phrases and buzzwords:

  • Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and experience. Include data if possible.
  • Use strong action verbs to describe your accomplishments.
  • Avoid using cliches and generic phrases.

These days, hiring managers have tools and software to screen candidates. These applicant tracking systems can automate their recruitment processes. Using keywords that these systems can read can get you noticed. It keeps an eye out for the following:

  • Skills-based keywords: networked, solved, researched, built, directed, analyzed, planned, wrote
  • Action verbs and keywords: collaborated, developed, motivated, led, succeeded, presented, tracked, initiated
  • Recognition keywords and phrases: promoted, selected from, appointed to, honored for, accomplished, chosen for, designated, awarded for
  • Results-oriented keywords: produced, established, upgraded, resolved, redesigned, leveraged, innovated, persuaded

Instead of saying you’re self-motivated, explain how and why and give examples to describe it. But don’t overdo the keywords mentioned above. Mix and match them to give your employers some proof of your past performance.

Mistake 5: Not Including a Call to Action

A call to action is a critical part of any graphic design cover letter. Its role is to provide clear direction on what you want the hiring manager to do next. They may be interested in your application, but without it, they might not take the next step to contact you for an interview or further discussion.

To avoid this mistake, consider the following tips:

  • Clearly state what action you want the hiring manager to take next. Do you want them to call you for an interview? Do you want to schedule a time to speak with them further?
  • Provide a sense of urgency to your call to action, emphasizing why it’s important for them to take action now.
  • Make sure to include your contact information, so the hiring manager knows how to reach you.

According to a study by Talent Works, having a clear CTA gives you a 54% higher response rate than applicants who don’t use one. So, use some of these examples below on your cover letter:

  • “I look forward to discussing my qualifications further and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person. Please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience to schedule an interview.”
  • “Thank you for considering my application. I will follow up with you next week to discuss my application further. Please contact me if you need any additional information or to schedule an interview.”
  • “I believe that my skills and experience make me an excellent fit for this position, and I would love the opportunity to prove it to you in person. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to schedule an interview.”

Without a CTA, your cover letter may also come across as passive or uncertain, which can negatively impact your chances of getting the job. So be clear and direct about what you want the hiring manager to do after reading your application, whether to schedule an interview or contact you for more information. This is how you make an unforgettable closing statement on your cover letter.

Cover letters are the gateway to your dream job

Crafting a well-written and targeted graphic design cover letter is essential to landing your dream job in the design industry. By avoiding these common mistakes and following the tips outlined above, you can create a cover letter that stands out from the crowd and demonstrates your unique skills and experience.

Pay close attention to how the company communicates throughout its materials online. Check their websites and social media channels to get a good idea of what type of language or tone to use in your cover letter.

Remember to personalize your cover letter, highlight your relevant experience and skills, proofread carefully, avoid generic phrases, and include a strong call to action. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to success in the design industry.

Read next: How to Work With a Manager That Doesn’t Understand Graphic Design

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