Cover Letter Mistakes

  • Last updated 29 Jul 2016


They say you learn from your mistakes, so we took that adage to heart and identified five all too common cover letter mistakes. They might seem a bit basic, but plenty of people make them. When you’re writing your cover letter for an apprenticeship, you’d do well to avoid these howlers.

“I is really wanting dis apprentiship”

If there’s anything that makes an apprenticeship employer groan with frustration, it’s being confronted with cover letter upon cover letter pockmarked by grammatical errors and riddled with spelling mistakes.

So, for the love of everything that is good in the world, please, please, please get someone else to check your cover letter through for mistakes.

You should also scrutinise it yourself and read it aloud to check it makes sense. Most word processors have a spelling and grammer checker, but beware of the occasional pesky error that slips through the cracks! 

“I really, really, really want to work for you...”

Your cover letter isn’t a plea for an apprenticeship; it certainly shouldn’t be the verbal equivalent of you getting down on your knees and begging.

Remember you're reaching out professionally to a potential employer - this is your chance to get off on the right foot, and so the best tone to take is that of a polite enquiry. 

More on Cover Letters:

How long should a cover letter be?

Apprenticeship cover letter

Dos and don'ts: cover letter grammar & wording

The secret to a good apprenticeship letter is showing them how hiring you will benefit their company, not you. What can you offer them? What is it about you that will make a fantastic apprentice? You can show enthusiasm without overdoing it on the begging front! 

"Can I be your apprentice... and yours, and yours..."

One of the most common errors in apprenticeship cover letters is using the same letter for every application. Every company is different and they can spot a generic apprenticeship letter a mile off.

You wouldn't send the exact same text to six different people - they all have different personalities, right? The same goes for employers, with each company having it's own values, features and quirks. 

You should tailor your letter to each company and that means giving them some genuine reasons why you want to work for them and why you’d be a great addition to their particular apprenticeship scheme.

“I would relish the chance to work for your company”

We’re not going to lie; a great number of cover letters are pretty boring and formulaic. There’s something about having to write in a professional and formal manner that brings out peoples’ inner bore.

While there are some ideal buzzwords that it doesn't hurt to include in your cover letter, there are also some words and phrases that are, at best pretty unmemorable, and at worst likely to send the employer to sleep. Steer clear of clichéd phrases and use that opening paragraph to really grab the attention of the employer. We don’t mean send in a multi-coloured wacky cover letter, but try not to start it with “I am writing to…” 

Think about what might set you apart from other candidates and how you can convey this in your apprenticeship cover letter.

“As you can see from my CV…”

Your cover letter isn’t the place to rehash your CV. Both work in conjunction with each other, but they ultimately have different purposes, are different lengths. Your cover letter is a gateway to your CV - once you've impressed your reader, that's when you want them to pick up your CV and flick through your grades, experiences and interests. 

 You might want to use it to highlight the parts of your CV that are relevant to the apprenticeship, but don’t repeat your CV word-for-word. You’ll bore the recruiter and you’ll bore yourself. 

More articles like this

Recruiting school leavers? We can help