Join The NonProfit Times: or Become a member

Subscribe: Print Publication or Newsletter

Stay connected.
Stay informed.

Jobs > Career Tips > 5 Cover Letter "Don'ts"

5 Cover Letter "Don'ts"

June 27, 2013

They say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is especially true when it comes to the job search; if your cover letter doesn’t immediately impress the employer, chances are you are already out of the running.

While it might seem unfair that you could be rejected based only on small errors, the nature of today’s job market means that employers want to make sure they are absolutely sure about a candidate before they move forward in the hiring process. That’s why you need to make sure that your cover letter is free of any errors before you submit your job application. Below are five typical mistakes that will cause your application to be placed in the “no” pile.

  • Don’t address the letter to a gender-based title such as “sir” or “madam.” You should try your best to find the name of the hiring manager or, if you can’t find the name, address it to the Human Resources Department.
  • Don’t forget to say the position for which you are applying. Organizations generally hire for multiple positions, so you shouldn’t assume the hiring manager will know which job you want.
  • Don’t focus on your needs. Employers don’t want to know why the job will be good for you; they want to know why you are uniquely qualified for the position and how your skills will help advance their mission.
  • Don’t act desperate by telling employers how many applications you have already sent out. This will make them wonder why you haven’t already gotten a job if you are as qualified as you say.
  • Don’t send a copy-pasted cover letter. You will make a much better impression if you specifically mention the nonprofit’s name and/or mention how your skills will help in specific areas of need based on your research of the organization.

Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


Stay informed, catch latest trends in the nonprofit space.

Subscribe to Our Free Newsletter

No obligation, unsubscribe at anytime.

Success! Check your email inbox.

NPT Jobs On Twitter

NPT 2015 Buyers' Guide

Newsletter Sign-up

click here to return to the previous page