1. Addressing letters, "Dear Sir:" or "Dear Sirs:" As you know, many readers today are women. If gender is unclear, the salutation should be something like "Dear Hiring Manager," or "Dear Human Resources Manager."
2. Addressing letters, "To whom it may concern." Find out who will receive the correspondence, and address it personally. We received a letter addressed to "Dear Whomever," to which one consultant replied, "I'll answer to anything but this!"
3. Enclosing a photo. Skip the photo unless you're a model or an aspiring actor.
4. Handwriting or typing over an old resume or letterhead. If you've moved, start over. Changes on old documents aren't acceptable.
5. No signature. Even if you type your name at the end of correspondence, you should sign the page in your own handwriting to give it a personal touch.
6. Spelling errors. One applicant said he was well suited for "writting and editing chores... contac t (sic) me at the adrwss (sic) below." Would you give him your editing work? Another writer said she would enjoy "hearing form (sic) us." Word processing spell checkers make mistakes; so proof everything.
7. Not checking grammar. One person wrote, "It sounds exciting and give me (sic) the opportunity to use my skills." Check your letters for correct sentence structure. Have friends review them too.
8. Handwriting letters. Brief 30-word thank you notes can be handwritten, if legible. All other correspondence should be typewritten or word processed, even if you have to borrow a word processor or pay a secretarial service. Handwritten letters don't say "business."
9. Using a Post-It Brand Note(随意贴便条) as a letter. Post-It Brand Notes aren't letters. Using one says, "This isn't important. I was too busy to write a real letter."
10. Using the word "I" too much. Some letters are filled with 20 or 30 I's. Make sure yours aren't. Advertising is about "you." Emphasize "you" rather than "I."
11. FAXing letters unexpectedly.
12. Forgetting to include your phone number. One woman wrote, "Please call me at home," but didn't include a phone number. That looked bad.
13. Cluttered desktop publishing. With the advent of PCs, some job seekers feel the urge to "be creative" using various type sizes and fonts. Avoid this in business correspondence. Except in rare cases, business letters should look conservative. If you want to be creative, do so in your choice of words. Save Microsoft Publisher and Corel Draw for your Christmas cards.
14. Using a post office box as an address. Except in rare cases, such as conducting a confidential job search, use a street address. Post office boxes seem "transient."15. Oddball phrasing, such as "an opportunity to expand my strengths and delete my weaknesses... " Or, "You may feel that I'm a tad overqualified." Or, "Enclosed herewith please find my resume." Do you talk that way? You should write the way you talk. Avoid bad phrasing by having others critique your letters.