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What Not to Include in a Cover Letter

a cover letter should not be which of the following

The Purpose of a Cover Letter

  • 15 Things You Shouldn't Include

What to Include in a Cover Letter

A cover letter is an important part of your job application. In some cases, employers require a cover letter to be submitted with your resume. In others, a cover letter is optional or not required.

A cover letter can boost your application for a job. It can also cost you an interview if it doesn't include the right information or if it's sloppy or badly written. A Career Builder survey reports that typos or grammatical errors are an instant deal breaker for 77% of hiring managers.  

It’s always a good idea to provide a cover letter if you have the option . Your cover letter can make the difference between getting selected for an interview—or not. It gives you a chance to sell your qualifications to the hiring manager, and shows them why you are a strong candidate for the job.

A well-written cover letter gives you the opportunity to frame your background so that employers draw the right conclusions about your qualifications as they review your resume.

In your cover letter, it’s important to convey how your character, interests, motivations, knowledge, skills, and experiences equip you to excel in the job. This is your opportunity to show the employer why you’re an excellent candidate for the position and should be considered.

Here are  tips for matching your qualifications to the job , so that you can make a match between your credentials and the employer's job requirements.

There is such a thing as too much information when it comes to cover letter writing. Your cover letter should be short, concise, and focused on what you can offer the employer.

You don’t need to share non-relevant information, personal information, or anything else that doesn’t connect you with the position for which you’re applying.

Your letter should avoid making the wrong impression about your candidacy. Furthermore, it shouldn’t provide useless information that makes it more difficult for the recruiter to focus on your most compelling qualifications.

15 Things You Shouldn't Include

1. any spelling or grammar errors.

Your cover letter is viewed as a sample of your ability as a writer and evidence of your attention to detail. Even a minor typo or error can knock you out of contention for the job. Review these proofreading tips to make sure your letters are perfect.

Even better, if you can get someone else to review it for you then do that too. It can be hard to catch our own mistakes.

2. The Wrong Company Name or the Wrong Name of the Contact Person

Double-check to be sure that you've addressed your cover letter to the correct person at the right organization. If you get it wrong, it is a tip-off that you are mass producing your documents and may lack attention to detail.

Nobody likes it when they are called by the wrong name, and that's especially true when you're reading letters from someone who wants you to hire them.

3. Anything That Isn't True

It shouldn't need to be said, but it's important to keep your cover letter as honest as your resume. A ResumeLab survey reports that 93% of respondents know someone who has lied on their resume.  

Facts can be checked, and lies are grounds for rescinding offers and dismissing employees. The ResumeLab survey notes that 65% of the people who were caught lying were either fired or not hired.  

I’ve heard from job seekers who were in a panic because they stretched the truth or outright  lied in their cover letter or resume  and didn’t know how to rectify it. You don’t want to be one of those people. Make sure your cover letter accurately reflects your qualifications for the job.

Don't embellish your work history or qualifications. Employers can and do check with references and previous employers.

4. Paragraphs That Are Too Long

Employers will skip over your cover letter and move right to your resume if it is too difficult to read.

  • Each paragraph of your letter should include 5 - 6 lines of text with no more than three sentences in each. 
  • Include plenty of white space at the top and bottom of your letter and in between paragraphs.

Here’s  how long a cover letter should be .

5. Your Salary Requirements or Expectations

Don't include salary requirements or expectations unless directed to do so by the employer. It’s important to demonstrate to the employer your interest in the job itself and not make it seem like money is your primary motivation.

It’s always wise to let the employer mention salary first, if possible. Here’s  when and how to mention salary  to a prospective employer.

6. Negative Comments About a Current or Past Employer

Avoid including any negative comments about your current or previous employer as part of why you are looking for work. Employers tend to view such comments as an indication of possible attitude or performance problems.

Keep your letter positive and focused on why you're the right person for the job.

7. Information Not Related to the Job

Don’t include any text that is not directly related to your assets for the position or why it appeals to you. Empty language can distract the employer from your core messages. It's better to write a short letter than one filled with irrelevant information.

Your letter should focus on why you're the best-qualified person for the job, and what you have to offer the employer.

8. Personal Information

The employer doesn't need to know you want this job because of personal reasons. Keep your focus on the professional reasons you'd love to be hired, and keep the personal ones to yourself.

Your goal is to sell yourself to the hiring manager as a quality candidate, not to get someone to consider you because you would really love the employee discount or the hours, for example.

9. Any Portrayal of the Position as a Stepping Stone

Most employers will be looking primarily for someone who is motivated to do the job that they are advertising for a reasonable length of time. Mentioning future advancement can lead them to believe you would not be satisfied doing that job for long.

The exception, of course, would be if the employer has referenced the issue or if the position is part of a training program.

10. What You Want

Your cover letter isn't about what you want; It's about what you have to offer. Don’t mention what you want to get out of the job or the company. The precious space in your cover letter should focus on what you have to offer the employer. Here’s what to include in the  body section of your cover letter .

11. What You Don't Want

Don't mention anything you don't like about the job, the schedule, the salary, or anything else. Save your thoughts for when you're offered a job and in a position to negotiate. There are many applicants for most jobs, and the ones who get the interviews will be the candidates who don't have a list of requirements.

12. Qualifications You Don’t Have

Addressing what might be missing in your candidacy with statements like "Despite my lack of sales experience... " is not a good idea. Don't draw attention to your limitations as a candidate. Keep the focus on your credentials and how they will enable you to get the job done.

13. Explanations for Leaving Past Jobs That Sound Like Excuses

Any excuses may needlessly direct attention to less-positive chapters in your work history. Pointing out that you were recruited for a better job is fine, but there's no need to mention that you were fired or had difficulties in previous positions. Keep your job application materials positive and focused on the future.

14. Excessive Modesty or Overly Flattering Language

You need to convey positives in your letter but do so in a matter-of-fact way. Speak about accomplishments and results, but avoid using adjectives to describe yourself that may suggest you are arrogant or conceited.

15. An Overwhelming Amount of Interest in the Job

Promote your credentials, but don't oversell yourself. Excessive interest can hint of desperation or undercut your leverage for salary negotiation. You’re pitching your candidacy, not begging for an interview. Showing desperation is a surefire way to turn off the hiring manager.

Keep in mind that your cover letter has one goal: to get you a job interview.

Take time to  match your qualifications carefully to the job requirements  and to  write a personalized cover letter  that shows the hiring manager, at a glance, why you're a terrific candidate.

Career Builder. "Employers Share Their Most Outrageous Resume Mistakes and Instant Deal Breakers ." Accessed Sept. 3, 2020.

ResumeLab. " Lying on a Resume (2020 Study) ." Accessed Sept. 3, 2020.

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  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • 10 of the Worst Cover Letter...

10 of the Worst Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

8 min read · Updated on March 10, 2022

Amanda Augustine

Make sure your cover letter helps your candidacy by avoiding these all-too-common mistakes.

Once you've updated your professional resume , it's time to prepare your job applications for submission to hiring managers. This usually involves making some small tweaks to your resume and creating a cover letter to accompany your application.

But aren't cover letters a thing of the past?

Yes and no. While 74 percent of recruiters don't find the cover letter to be an important factor when evaluating candidates, the remaining percentage do. And since you have no way of knowing which type of recruiter will receive your application, it's best to cover your bases and include a cover letter with every job application. As an added bonus, a reported 53 percent of employers admit they prefer candidates to send a cover letter when applying for a job.

However, not just any cover letter will do. If you're going to take the time to craft this document, make sure it helps, not hurts, your candidacy, by following cover letter dos and don'ts. Below are 10 common and costly mistakes to avoid when writing your next cover letter .

Cover Letter Mistake #1: Lack of research

Thanks to the Internet, there's little excuse to not personalize your cover letters. Whenever possible, research the name of the hiring manager or recruiter (if it's not listed on the actual job post) and the company who's filling the position, and use this information to customize your opening document.  If you skip this step, you're sending the message to the reader that you don't really care enough about the position to do your homework. In a world where employers are inundated with applications, any excuse to eliminate candidates along the application process will do. Don't let this cover letter mistake give them a reason to cut you from the pile.

There are some exceptions to this rule. If you're responding to an anonymous job posting, you're not expected to include the name of the company or the hiring manager in the cover letter. When a company goes out of its way to keep its name and the names of its employees confidential, you can assume the hiring manager won't take off points if you use a generic opener.

Cover Letter Mistake #2: Overly formal or casual greetings

Whenever you're applying for a position or preparing for an interview, take the company's culture into account. You can get a better sense of the employer's brand by checking out its Careers section online, reading reviews on Glassdoor, searching for its profile on The Muse , following the social media accounts the company set up for recruitment purposes, and talking to your networking connections who've worked at the organization. This will help you decide if you're better off going with a “Hello Jeff” or a “Dear Mr. Berger” type of greeting.

If you're unable to address your cover letter to a specific person, steer clear of incredibly formal introductions, such as “To Whom It May Concern,” as they are not conversational and can be considered off-putting. The same goes for super casual openers like “Hi!” Even if you're dealing with a startup that prides themselves on being non-traditional, this cover letter greeting is a little too laid back for your first communication and may have the reader questioning your professionalism.

Play it safe and stick with a gender-neutral opener such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Recruiter.”

Cover Letter Mistake #3: Talking all about me, me, me

Think of your cover letter as your sales pitch to the hiring manager. Instead of spending the entire time talking about yourself and your wants and needs, consider the needs of your prospective employer. Your potential boss is the one who will (hopefully) read your cover letter, after all.

Review the job description again and check out the latest news on the company. Ask yourself why the organization is hiring for this role. In other words, what pain point will this position solve? When you can relate to the hiring manager's concerns and position your skills as the solution to his or her needs, you have a better chance of avoiding cover letter mistakes and capturing the reader's attention.

Cover Letter Mistake #4: Repeating your entire resume

Remember, the recruiter already has your resume - there's no need to rehash your entire job history when writing your cover letter. In fact, I believe this is why so many employers disregard the cover letter; they've read so many bad cover letters that merely summarize their candidates' resumes, that they see no need to read them.

One cover letter tip is to surprise the hiring manager by using your opening to demonstrate your understanding of the company's position in the marketplace and its needs and then highlight your work experience and accomplishments that speak to these requirements.

Avoid these common cover letter mistakes.  Hire a TopResume writer today .

Cover Letter Mistake #5: Generic messaging

Even if you're applying to an anonymous job listing, a common cover letter mistake is using boilerplate text. While your introduction may not be as specific as it would be for a position where the employer is known, this doesn't give you license to use a generic template for the main sections of your cover letter.

Based upon the job description, make a list of the top 3-5 requirements for the role. This may have to do with your knowledge, skills, and experience of a certain topic or an industry, your experience performing a particular task, or your education and other credentials. Then, brainstorm how you possess each prerequisite, referencing a specific contribution, accomplishment, or experience from your work history that illustrates these qualifications. Summarize this information in a paragraph or a set of bullets. This is a great way to customize your cover letter and grab the reader's attention.

Cover Letter Mistake #6: Not following instructions

As I previously mentioned, some employers, especially those in the healthcare, education, and legal sector, still value a cover letter and will request one in their job description. Do yourself a favor and re-read the job description carefully to provide context to your cover letter dos and don'ts. Oftentimes the employer will request certain information to be included in the cover letter. The last thing you want to do is ignore this request, as the reader will assume you are not detail-oriented and unable to follow the simplest of instructions.

Cover Letter Mistake #7: Typos

When you're competing against a large pool of candidates for one role, the smallest cover letter mistakes could be used to eliminate you from the pile. These days, we've grown all too reliant on spell-check and autocorrect to edit our communication. It's easy to overlook the small mistakes, such as using “higher” when you really meant to say “hire.” Don't let these silly details derail your job application.

Follow this simple cover letter tip: Reread your cover letter. Then read it again. Then hand it over to a trusted friend. You know, the one that majored in English. If you're looking for some resources to improve your grammar and punctuation, check out Lynne Truss' book, “ Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation ,” and “ Woe is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English ” by Patricia T. O'Conner. They're great reads!

Cover Letter Mistake #8: Writing a novel

If recruiters spend an average of six seconds scanning your resume before deciding if you're a fit, how long do you think they'll spend reading your cover letter? Here's another set of cover letter dos and don'ts: your cover letter shouldn't be any longer than is necessary to get your points across. And it definitely shouldn't exceed one page.

Also, keep its readability in mind. Similar to your resume, try to create white space in your cover letter by avoiding dense blocks of text.

Cover Letter Mistake #9: Going off brand

Whether you're searching for a new job or managing your career path, it's important to pay close attention to how you present your professional brand to others — online, on paper, and face to face. To that end, another cover letter tip is to give it the same look and feel as your resume. If you're uploading your cover letter as a separate document to an online application, ensure it uses the same header as your resume. Also, make sure the font type, color, and size, the contact information you provide, and even the name you use on both documents remain consistent.

Cover Letter Mistake #10: TMI

While you can use a cover letter to explain an employment gap or your interest in relocating to a new city, don't overshare your personal details with a prospective employer. The recruiter doesn't need to know the gory details of your back surgery or how you had your heart broken and need to find a new city to call home. These extraneous details can't be used as selling points and will only detract from your qualifications and candidacy.

Your resume should be mistake free as well. Is yours? Find out with a free resume review .

Recommended Reading:

  • Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?
  • How to Be a Great Candidate Even if You're Under-Qualified for the Job
  • How to Write a Catchy Cover Letter

Related Articles:

What to Say in a Cover Letter: 5 Things You Should Include

How to Maximize Your Resume Action Words to Wow the Employer

How to Write an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) Therapist Resume

See how your resume stacks up.

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Writing the Cover Letter

What are the objectives of a cover letter.

A good cover letter puts your résumé in context and persuades the prospective employer that you are a good match for the position in question. If your cover letter does its job, the prospective employer will begin to consider your candidacy and go on to review your résumé in detail.

Your cover letter also serves as a sample of your organizational and communication skills. For this reason, it's essential to spend time writing and organizing the content, and to proofread it carefully. The time and care that you devote to constructing and writing your cover letter and résumé will demonstrate to the prospective employer that you're capable of producing high quality work.

Finally, your cover letter expresses your interest in the particular position or particular organization. Cover letters should be individually tailored for each job prospect. Your letter should convey to each prospective employer that you have an understanding of the job, and that you've done some thinking about how you could fit in to the organization and contribute to its goals.

How should I approach the writing task?

Your cover letter is your opportunity to market those aspects of your skills, abilities, education, training, background, and experience which are most relevant to the position you're seeking. This means that you will need to begin by doing some thinking about your skills and background and how these relate to the position for which you're applying. (For more information about skills, visit the Humanities Academic Services Center website .) Your cover letter should reflect your individuality, but remember that you are "introducing yourself" for the first time to a stranger: it's best to err on the side of professionalism.

Read the job announcement carefully. What are the most important qualifications being sought? How can you best demonstrate that you have them? Try to put yourself in the prospective employer's position: What would you want to know about a candidate for this particular job? What information would be most important to you? Include only the most relevant attributes and experiences you possess which specifically match the job for which you're applying.

Research the company or organization: What does the employing organization do? What are its goals? What is its history? How does it fit in to its industry? What characterizes the organization's culture (e.g., is it casual, conservative, highly structured, diverse, traditional, modern, fast-paced, etc.)? Some information, such as the organization's mission, purpose, clients, partners, and a sense of its "style" can be found on its website (if it has one). There are also industry and employer directories available on the web, in the libraries, and at UW Career Center in 134 Mary Gates Hall. Local and national newspapers, industry-related publications and journals, and the Washington Occupational Information System are also good resources.

Address the letter to a specific individual. As with all writing, it's important to identify your audience. Taking the time to find out the hiring party's name and correct title is another way to demonstrate your interest in the position.

How should I format my cover letter?

Your cover letter should be three to four paragraphs in length and limited to one page. Like an essay, its content can usually be divided up into three parts:

The introduction states the position you're seeking, explains how you learned about the position, and indicates your interest. It often also contains a brief statement of your qualifications (education, experience, and skills).

The body highlights the most important qualities you can offer to this particular employer , related to the position that you're seeking. Because you will be attaching your résumé, this is not the place to go into great detail. What you are attempting to do is to get the employer's attention and interest him/her in your candidacy. This is also the place to present other relevant information about your characteristics or background that may not be evident from your résumé. You might provide the employer with some specific examples of how you've demonstrated particular key skills or how you fulfill the most important qualifications listed in the job announcement.

The conclusion should summarize your qualifications and your interest in the position. Be sure to close your letter with a request for action or an indication that you'll be following up. This might include a request for an interview, a statement of your intent to call the employer on a specific date, or the dates you'll be in town for an interview. Finally, always thank the employer for considering your application.

Sample Cover Letters

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How to write an effective cover letter (with samples)

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You will have to prepare a number of materials for employers while looking for a job. One type of document is the cover letter, which is included with your resume when requesting a job interview. An effective cover letter is directed towards a specific position or company, and describes examples from your experience that highlight your skills related to the role.

You want to convince the reader that your interest in the job and company are genuine and specific. You also want to demonstrate ways that your experience has prepared you for the role by sharing a few brief stories that highlight your qualifications. This takes time and research; use the job description and the company’s web site or LinkedIn page to identify traits and skills the company values.

Cover letter structure and format

A cover letter should be no longer than one page with a font size between 10-12 points. Be sure to include your contact information and address it directly to the hiring manager, using their name. If you are not sure who to address the letter to, write “Dear Hiring Manager.” If the role you are applying for has a reference number or code, be sure to include it in your letter so that human resources is able to accurately track your application. The reference code is usually included

Cover letters typically take the following structure:

Introduction (1st paragraph)

  • State clearly in your opening sentence the purpose for your letter and a brief professional introduction.
  • Specify why you are interested in that specific position and organization.
  • Provide an overview of the main strengths and skills you will bring to the role.

Example : I am a second year master’s student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program (TPP) writing to apply for a consulting position in Navigant’s Emerging Technology & Business Strategy group. After speaking with John Smith at the MIT career fair, I realized that Navigant’s values of excellence, continuous development, entrepreneurial spirit, and integrity align with the principles that guide me every day and that have driven me throughout my career. Moreover, I believe that my knowledge of the energy sector, passion for data analysis, polished communication skills, and four years of consulting experience will enable me to deliver superior value for Navigant’s clients.

Body (2-3 paragraphs)

  • Cite a couple of examples from your experience that support your ability to be successful in the position or organization.
  • Try not to simply repeat your resume in paragraph form, complement your resume by offering a little more detail about key experiences.
  • Discuss what skills you have developed and connect these back to the target role.

Example : As a graduate student in MIT’s Technology and Policy Program, I spend every day at the cutting edge of the energy sector. In my capacity as an MIT Energy Initiative research assistant, I use statistical analysis to investigate trends in public acceptance and regulation related to emerging energy technologies. Graduate classes in data science, energy economics, energy ventures and strategy, and technology policy have prepared me to help Navigant offer the expert services that set it apart from competitors. Furthermore, I will bring Navigant the same leadership skills that I used as the student leader for the MIT Energy Conference’s Technology Commercialization round-table, and as the mentorship manager for the MIT Clean Energy Prize.

Even before MIT, my four years of work experience in consulting—first at LMN Research Group and then at XYZ Consulting—allowed me to develop the skillset that Navigant looks for in candidates. As a science writer and policy analyst at LMN Research Group, I developed superb technical writing and visual communication skills, as well as an ability to communicate and collaborate with clients at federal agencies such as EPA and DOE. As a research analyst at XYZ Consulting, I developed an in-depth understanding of data analysis, program evaluation, and policy design.

Closing (last paragraph)

  • Restate succinctly your interest in the role and why you are a good candidate.
  • Thank the reader for their time and consideration.

Example : I take pride in my skills and experience in several domains: critical thinking and analysis, communication, and leadership. I note that Navigant values these same ideals, and I very much hope to use my abilities in service of the firm and its clients. Thank you for your time and consideration, I look forward to speaking with you further about my qualifications.

Additional cover letter tips

  • Be sure that each cover letter is specifically tailored to the company you are writing to. Research the company to help you determine your approach. Check the company’s website and other resources online. You can also use MIT’s extensive alumni network through the Alumni Advisors Hub to seek first-hand knowledge, advice, and insight about the company.
  • Are you seeking a position in a field or industry that does not have an obvious parallel or connection to your academic training? Be explicit about why you are interested in that particular field, organization or job, and what value you bring. For example, if you are an electrical engineer applying to a finance or consulting position, highlight your quantitative skills and ability to problem-solve.
  • If you are applying for a summer job or internship and do not yet have any experience that is directly related to the position, focus on transferable skills that will add value to the role – leadership, communication, problem-solving, project management, etc.
  • Lastly, cover letters are a chance to demonstrate the communication skills necessary to most jobs. Careful composing and revision are essential. To put your best foot forward and ensure your cover letter will be effective, schedule an appointment with a CAPD career advisor.

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Home » What Your Cover Letter and Resume Should and Shouldn’t Include

What Your Cover Letter and Resume Should and Shouldn’t Include

What Your Cover Letter and Resume Should and Shouldn’t Include

So, you’re on the hunt for a job again, and you’ve found one (or maybe 10) open positions that you’d like to apply to.

Now comes the biggest hurdle to cross: Putting your resume together, and then drafting that dreaded cover letter.

Both are crucial elements of an application that will define the success of your job hunt.

Without further ado, let’s get started with the top five tips for making a standout resume that will land you an interview .

How To Create A Resume That Will Set You Apart:

1. review successful resume examples from your industry.

Before you set to work on your resume, it’s good to know what the standards look like. Study sample resumes from your industry to see what recruiters are looking for in similar roles.

Look for the achievements and skills that have been highlighted, and model your resume accordingly.

2. Make It Easy To Skim: Choose the Right Template & Formatting

It’s not all about the content on your resume. It’s just as much about how it’s presented.

On average, recruiters look at a resume for six seconds, so if your resume looks like a massive block of text, it’s likely to get placed in the reject pile.

Make it easy for the recruiter to see if you’re a good fit by consolidating your resume into sections using a well-organized template.

But, don’t be limited by a template. If there are some unnecessary sections or subheadings, clear them out. Keep the ones that showcase your experience and history best.

For example: If you’re a student, you don’t have to keep a blank work history section in your resume. Focus instead on adding a section that highlights relevant coursework or academic achievements.

To make your resume even more reader-friendly, use text formatting to highlight the parts you want the recruiter to notice. Use bullet points, bold text, or larger font sizes to highlight vital achievements or keywords.

3. Keep it Succinct

On that note, keep it brief by prioritizing your achievements. A good rule of thumb to follow is to have one page on your resume for every 10 years of experience.

Focus on only the most relevant experiences, roles, and achievements for the job you are applying for. Be sure to highlight your biggest achievements by having them at the top of the page.

Pro Tip: Instead of wasting precious space talking about how well you performed at your last job, show them. Use simple and measurable performance metrics to showcase the impact of your work.

For example, mention how you increased sales by x%, or how you reduced customer response time by y%. This is more impressive to recruiters and doesn’t take five lines to explain.

4. Use Active Verbs

Active verbs show clarity and control, and bring strength to your statements. When you use them, you draw the reader’s attention to your actions that resulted in the achievements.

So, be sure to start every bullet point with an action word, and use a variety of action verbs to avoid monotony for the reader.

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5. get ats-friendly: use keywords from the job posting.

Most companies these days use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to manage the application process. This system collects, scans, and ranks the fit of your resume for job eligibility, making recruiters’ work much easier.

But, it also means that on average 75% of applicants’ resumes don’t even make it to the recruiter’s desk.

Give your resume a fighting chance by making it ATS-friendly. The best way to do that is to use keywords from the job posting in your resume.

Go through job postings and identify the skill or personality markers that they are looking for in the ideal candidate. (Hint: They’re usually mentioned in the “Requirements” and “Qualifications” sections.)

Ensure you use the exact same phrases in your resume to increase your chances of passing the ATS test. But, don’t just stuff your resume with keywords. Make it reader-friendly by using them strategically.

Pro Tip: Be sure to run your resume through one of the many free ATS Checkers online to see if it passes the ATS check.

While you’re at it, don’t sabotage your chances by making these common resume mistakes:

Three Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid:

1. taking the ‘one-size fits all’ route.

Using the same generic resume for all of your job applications is a rookie job hunter mistake.

Even if all the jobs are in the same industry, sending out the same resume will not get you any responses. Employers like to know that you’re truly interested and committed to the role and company.

The company culture and role specifics vary for each job, and a good resume reflects these subtleties.

2. Grammar or Spelling Errors

You might not be applying for the role of a communications manager, but a typo is still a red flag for recruiters.

Poor grammar creates the impression of someone who doesn’t communicate well, or perhaps doesn’t care to check. Misspelled words on your resume show a lack of attention to detail. 

Ensure you do a thorough spelling and grammar check before sending. If possible, have a friend or colleague read through it to catch any errors you may have missed.

3. Focusing On Your Duties, Not Accomplishments

Your resume must show the recruiter how good you are at your job, not just what you do on a daily basis. Don’t make the mistake of simply listing your activities and job description.

Recruiters want to know how you’ve made an impact in each role and what you’ve achieved while working.

A simple way to do this is by asking yourself these two questions:

  • How did I resolve or overcome any obstacles and challenges in that role?
  • What are the results (for the team, company, or stakeholders) I was able to achieve in my role?

Use these answers to shape your content, so that your achievements shine through.

Cover Letter Basics:

To maximize your chances, your resume should be accompanied by a well-written cover letter. (Yes, even in this era of LinkedIn applications and online interviews.)

You no longer have to mail a physical copy of your letter, but attaching it to the application or email will set you apart from other candidates.

If the thought of writing 500 words makes your palms sweaty, we’ve got your back. Here are some simple guidelines for crafting an impressive, standout cover letter.

The 4 Things You Need To Create A Standout Cover Letter:

1. address the recruiter by their name.

It is recommended that you do not start your cover letter with ‘To Whom It May Concern.’ Vague addresses like this make it seem like you haven’t put in the effort to research the company and role.

If the hiring manager’s name isn’t mentioned in the job posting, then check the company’s LinkedIn page or website. To go the extra mile, you could even call the company’s HR department to confirm the name.

Addressing your letter to them directly will catch their attention, and they will appreciate the detail.

2. Don’t Copy-Paste Your Resume Contents

Don’t bore the reader by restating the information from your resume in longer sentences. Your cover letter should be an extension of your resume, but it must also go beyond it.

Use the following prompts to help you expand on your achievements for the cover letter:

What approach did you take to tackle the obstacles you’ve overcome?

What strategies of yours led to the big accomplishments you mentioned in the resume?

What personality trait (or work ethic) helped you make a difference in your role?

3. Tailor It to the Company

While your resume may be tailored to the role you’re applying for, your cover letter must do more. Use this letter to show the recruiter that you’ve done your research about the company, and how you can help the company achieve its goals.

Apart from telling them why you’re a good fit, also tell them why you want to work there.

Do you have a personal connection with the brand? Have you used their products before? Are their service and mission something you are passionate about?

Showing a personal interest in the company’s goals will portray you as a better fit for the role.

4. Keep It to a Single Page

While the recruiter may want to know more about you, they won’t have time for a three-page detailed account of your work.

Limit it to a single page, and don’t overstuff it. The font size must be at least 12 pts, and be sure to leave some breathing space as well.

Value the recruiter’s time and ensure that every sentence of the cover letter offers them an insight into your fit for the role.

Know that everyone’s first drafts are messy and awkward. So edit, proofread, and snip through your first few drafts until the letter is razor-sharp.

Keep these tips in mind to help you get an edge over the hundreds of other candidates applying for the same job.

If you have a friend who is job hunting with you as well, help them out by sharing this article with them.

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11 Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

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When it comes to the job application process, cover letters are as relevant as ever.

They complement your resume and can effectively set you apart from a sea of other candidates…

And yet, most job-seekers tend to make the same common cover letter mistakes (which can even cost them the job).

To prevent you from making the same mistakes, we compiled this list of job-seekers' 11 most common cover letter mistakes.

Avoid these mistakes, and you’re well on your way to landing your next job!

Ready? Let’s dive in! 

11 Cover Letter Mistakes (That You Should Avoid)

Mistake #1. making it all about yourself.

“How can I not make it about myself,” you might think. “After all, this is my cover letter.”

Well, yes, but here’s the thing.

You should use your cover letter to better explain why you’re the perfect fit for the company, not as free space to talk about yourself. Think about what the recruiter wants to read, not only what you want to say. 

Specifically, do talk about a few relevant strengths and noteworthy achievements that will highlight your skills for the position (that you couldn’t elaborate on your resume). 

Don’t overuse “I,” don’t start sharing your life story as if your cover letter is your autobiography, and don’t come up with irrelevant competencies you just assume will make you look good. Huge cover letter mistakes.   

Mistake #2. Repeating your resume

There’s a quote by Zig Ziglar that says: “ repetition is the mother of learning. ” Great quote, but it still doesn’t justify using your cover letter to repeat your resume. 

Recruiters want you to prove that you’re worth the job. But if they open your cover letter and re-read your resume (which they’ve surely already read), you’d have made a big cover letter mistake. 

If you have nothing new to say, you can explain in more detail how one of your achievements prepared you for the job you’re applying for, or how you can contribute to the company’s mission. Anything that will add value instead of just listing out your job history and responsibilities will do.  

Want to promote your personal brand and make a lasting impression as a candidate? Match your cover letter with your resume! All of the Novorésumé resume templates come with a matching cover letter design. So, just pick a style you like and get started now!

matching resume and cover letter

Mistake #3. Exceeding one page 

Your cover letter shouldn’t be an autobiography.

You might be tempted to go on and on and describe your entire career history, but that’s simply not what the cover letter is for.

A good cover letter has 3 main objectives:

  • To (briefly) introduce you and your career goals
  • To summarize your (relevant) professional background
  • To explain anything that you didn’t have space for in your resume, but that the recruiter should know

As such, the ideal cover letter length is 250-400 words long or between three to six paragraphs . 

Mistake #4. Mass sending a cover letter

Ideally, your cover letters should be tailored to each job that you apply for. 

A generic cover letter that you just copy and paste from an internet sample shows you submitted one just because you have to, not out of genuine interest for the position. 

Your cover letter should show that you put in the effort—that’s what makes all the difference. 

If, however, you’re applying to many jobs and don’t really have the time to write, say, 20 cover letters, make sure to at least customize the company’s and the hiring manager’s name in each. 

Wondering how to start off your cover letter? Our guides on how to start a cover letter can help you with that! 

Mistake #5. Using cliches without backing them up

As you’re writing your cover letter, you might be tempted to use phrases like “I’m an excellent team player,” “dedicated problem-solver,” or “great communicator.” 

Which is fair - these are very important skills but any job out there.

Here’s the thing, though: these buzzwords are used so often in resumes & cover letters today that they’ve become cliches.

Sure, you can claim to be a “great communicator,” but so do all the other applicants.

The only case we do recommend mentioning such cliches is when you can actually back them up with your past experiences.

So instead of saying “I’m a great communicator,” you say “I’m a great communicator, as proven by Experience A, B, and C.”

Developed teamwork skills by coordinating with 10 other people on my project team to develop and deliver software solutions for the client both behind budget and ahead of schedule.

Mistake #6. Being too formal...or too informal

Look, extremes are rarely your friend. 

So, just like your instinct probably tells you that addressing the hiring manager like you would a friend isn’t the brightest idea, you should also refrain from being overly formal. 

Dear Sarah,

I’d like to apply for the role of junior project manager at Company X.

Hey Sarah, what’s up?

Name’s John and I’m here for that project manager gig!

Our guide on how to address a cover letter shows you the best ways to address a cover letter without being overly formal, or informal. 

Mistake #7. Typos and grammar mistakes

Out of all cover letter mistakes to avoid, typos and grammar mistakes should be the easiest. 

Microsoft Word will underline your typos red and your grammar mistakes green, but you have the option of easily proofreading your cover letter no matter where you’re writing it. 

A simple spell-checker and software like Grammarly should be enough to save you from this dreary, but easily avoidable, mistake.  

Mistake #8. Unnecessary flattery

You don’t need to write a love letter to the company for the hiring manager to like you. 

Sure, if you hold the company’s values, mission, or culture at a high standard, feel free to mention how it inspires you professionally. 

But if you just use your cover letter to throw random compliments at the company with the hopes the recruiter will like you, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise. 

Remember: you want to (smartly) flatter your achievements, not the company. 

Mistake #9. Going off-topic

Going off-topic is a big no-no when it comes to cover letters.

You might think it’s OK, as long as you’re talking about work, but explaining the backstories of your professional decisions will get you nothing but a yawn from the recruiter.

For example, opening up to the hiring manager about how you decided to leave your job because you broke up with your girlfriend is (as you might imagine) totally going off-topic and definitely too much information (even if that’s the reason you did quit your job). 

Generally, in your cover letter, refrain from discussing:  

  • Your weaknesses (unless they’re asking about them at an interview)
  • Uncomfortable life/professional experiences
  • Details of every job you ever had 
  • Reasons, excuses, or details on why you were fired from a past job (again, unless asked at an interview)

Mistake #10. Not following specific instructions

Did your teacher ever tell you to carefully read the test questions before starting to answer? 

Rightfully so! Sometimes, we hurry so much to get something done that we completely miss what we are being asked in the first place. 

You don’t want that cover letter mistake to happen to you, so read the job description carefully before you start writing your resume and cover letter.

If the hiring manager has any specific requirements about the cover letter’s content or format, you’ll find them in the job description. It might even happen that the position doesn’t require a cover letter at all, so give this part its due attention. 

If the job description doesn’t provide any specifications, your best bet is to submit your cover letter in PDF format.

Want to go the extra mile and impress the recruiter with your attention to detail? Use the same design as in your resume.

Mistake #11. Forgetting to sign your cover letter

Signing your cover letter goes a long way to showing business etiquette and attention to detail, so make sure to do that! 

If you’re sending your cover letter and job application as part of an email, though, then you don’t have to sign your cover letter. 

In any case, pay extra attention to how you end your cover letter. People are bound to remember the ending of things, so you want to conclude your cover letter as politely and memorably as possible. 

Not sure what that means? Our article on how to end a cover letter will show you all you need to know! 

Key Takeaways

And that’s a wrap! We hope you know what cover letter mistakes to look out for when you start writing. Here are a few of the main points we covered: 

  • Don’t overuse “I” in your cover letter. Instead, focus on describing a few of your most noteworthy achievements, relevant to the position.
  • Using your cover letter to repeat your resume is a cover letter mistake you must avoid.
  • Avoid using cliches such as “team player,” “great communicator” and the sorts when you’re describing yourself. Instead, prove your skills by backing them up with your professional experiences.
  • Make sure you proofread your cover letter before submitting it; typos and grammar mistakes are intolerable cover letter mistakes.

Related Readings: 

  • Top Cover Letter Examples in 2024
  • How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

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  • Cover Letter

How to Structure a Cover Letter in 2023: 10+ Proper Examples

a cover letter should not be which of the following

A cover letter is a document that accompanies a job seeker’s resume or job application. It is a personalized letter that introduces the candidate to a potential employer and highlights their qualifications and skills relevant to the job position. A cover letter serves as an introduction, a chance for the job seeker to make a good first impression and to differentiate themselves from other candidates.

Why is a Cover Letter important?

A cover letter is an essential tool for job seekers, as it can significantly increase their chances of getting hired. It allows them to demonstrate their interest in the job position and the company and showcase their suitability for the role. A well-written cover letter can help candidates stand out from the competition and communicate their value proposition to employers.

Purpose of a Cover Letter

The purpose of a cover letter is to persuade the employer to consider the job seeker’s application and invite them for an interview. It is an opportunity for the candidate to sell themselves, pitch their skills and experience, and show how they can add value to the organization. A cover letter provides additional context and information that may not be included in the resume, such as career goals, achievements, and personal attributes.

A cover letter is a powerful tool for job seekers to market themselves to potential employers and increase their chances of getting hired. The following sections of this article will provide 10+ proper examples of how to structure a cover letter for various job positions and industries.

Understanding the Structure of a Cover Letter

When it comes to crafting a cover letter, establishing a solid structure is key to ensuring your application stands out from the rest. A well-structured cover letter should consist of the following elements:

The heading should be placed at the top of the cover letter and should include your name, address, phone number, and email address. You can also include the date and the recipient’s name and address if you have that information available.


The introduction serves as your chance to grab the reader’s attention and make a strong first impression. Start by addressing the reader by name and briefly explaining why you are writing. Be sure to include the name of the position you are applying for and where you found the listing.

The body of the cover letter is where you can expand on why you are the ideal candidate for the position. Your cover letter should consist of at least three paragraphs:

Paragraph 1: Why you are interested in the job

In this paragraph, you should explain why you are interested in the position and the company you are applying to. Mention any unique aspects of the job or company that stand out to you and why they align with your career goals.

Paragraph 2: Why you are the perfect candidate

This paragraph should highlight your skills, qualifications, and experiences that make you the perfect fit for the position. Use specific examples to demonstrate how your skills and experience align with the job description.

Paragraph 3: Relevant experience and skills

In this paragraph, expand on your experiences and skills that specifically relate to the job you are applying for. Use concrete examples and metrics to demonstrate your expertise, and how you can contribute to the company’s success.

Paragraph 4: Closing and call-to-action

The final paragraph should summarize your interest in the position and the company. Additionally, you should use this opportunity to express your enthusiasm for the role and your willingness to contribute to the company’s continued growth. End with a call-to-action, requesting an interview or thanking the reader for their time.

The closing should include a polite sign-off such as “Sincerely” or “Best regards” followed by your name.

A well-structured cover letter can make all the difference in the job application process. By following these guidelines, you can craft a compelling cover letter that effectively demonstrates your qualifications and sets you apart from other candidates.

How to Start a Cover Letter

When it comes to writing a cover letter, the opening is crucial. It’s the first impression you make on the hiring manager, and you want it to be a strong one. Here are some tips on how to start your cover letter:

Start your cover letter with a professional greeting, such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear [Company Name] Team.” Avoid using generic greetings like “To Whom It May Concern” as they can come off as impersonal.

Opening Statement

In the opening statement, introduce yourself and express your interest in the job. You can also briefly highlight why you are a good fit for the position.

Mention the Source of Job Posting

Let the hiring manager know where you found the job posting. This shows that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in the position.

Include Personal Referrals, If Applicable

If you have a personal connection to the company, such as a referral from a current employee, mention it in your cover letter. This can give you an edge over other applicants and make a strong impression on the hiring manager.

Highlight Achievements

In the body of your cover letter, highlight your professional achievements and how they relate to the job you’re applying for.

By following these tips, you can create a strong opening to your cover letter that will grab the hiring manager’s attention and set you apart from other applicants.

How to Write the Body of a Cover Letter

The body of your cover letter is where you really have the chance to showcase your skills and experience to the hiring manager. More importantly, it’s where you need to connect your qualifications directly to the requirements of the job you’re applying for. Here’s how to do that effectively:

Customize the body for each job application

One of the biggest mistakes jobseekers make is writing a generic cover letter that they can send out to any employer. It’s crucial to customize your cover letter for each job application you submit. This means doing some research on the company and the position you’re applying for, and tailoring your letter to fit their specific needs.

Use specific examples

In order to demonstrate your value to the employer, you need to provide specific examples of your past experiences and accomplishments. Don’t just write that you have “strong communication skills” or “a proven track record”; instead, give concrete examples of how you’ve used those skills in the past – for instance, how you managed a team, resolved a customer issue, or spearheaded a successful project.

Connect your skills with job requirements

The purpose of the cover letter is to prove that you’re the best candidate for the job. In order to do that, you need to show how your skills and experience directly relate to the requirements listed in the job posting. Don’t assume that the employer will make the connection themselves; spell it out for them.

For example, if the job posting lists “proficiency in Microsoft Excel” as a requirement, you might write something like: “As you can see from my resume, I have extensive experience with Microsoft Excel. In my previous role, I used this skill to develop complex financial models that led to a 12% increase in revenue for our department.”

Use keywords and phrases from the job description

In addition to connecting your skills to the job requirements, you should also use some of the same language and phrases that appear in the job posting. This not only shows that you’ve read and understood the posting, but also helps your application get past any screening software that the employer may be using.

For example, if the job posting mentions “collaboration” as a requirement, you might write something like: “I’m thrilled to see that collaboration is such a key component of this position, as it’s something I’m truly passionate about. In my previous role, I worked closely with cross-functional teams to develop and implement marketing campaigns that exceeded our targets by 25%.”

Use the body of your cover letter as an opportunity to prove your value to the employer by customizing it for each job application, using specific examples, connecting your skills to job requirements, and using keywords and phrases from the job description.

What to Avoid in a Cover Letter

When it comes to crafting a cover letter, there are certain things that you should avoid in order to make a good impression on potential employers. Below are some common mistakes that you should steer clear of when writing a cover letter:

Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes

Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes can undermine your credibility and make it difficult for employers to take you seriously. Make sure to proofread your letter carefully and use tools like grammar checkers to catch any mistakes before submitting your application.

Clichéd statements

Using clichéd statements such as “I’m a real go-getter” or “I work well under pressure” can make you come across as unoriginal and uninspired. Instead, try to demonstrate your skills and experience through specific examples and accomplishments.

Irrelevant information

Including irrelevant information in your cover letter can distract from your qualifications and make it hard for employers to see how you fit the position. Make sure to stay focused and only include information that is directly related to the job at hand.

Overuse of buzzwords

While buzzwords can be useful in demonstrating your knowledge of industry trends, using them too often can make you seem insincere and unoriginal. Use them sparingly and only when they add real value to your letter.

By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your cover letter is well-structured, professional, and effective in highlighting your qualifications and experience.

How to End a Cover Letter

As you come to the end of your cover letter, it’s important to leave a lasting impression. Here are a few crucial elements to include in your conclusion:

Summarize your interest in the job:  Reiterate why you’re excited about this particular role and how it aligns with your career goals.

Mention your relevant skills and experience:  Briefly touch on the qualifications that make you the perfect fit for this position.

Request an interview:  Emphasize your eagerness to discuss your application further and express your availability for an interview.

Provide contact information:  Finish off your cover letter with your full name, phone number, and email address. Make it easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you.

By following these guidelines, you can leave a strong impression and increase the chances of getting called for an interview. Remember, the goal of your cover letter is to show why you’re the best candidate for the job, so end your cover letter with confidence and enthusiasm!

How to Format a Cover Letter

When it comes to formatting your cover letter, you want to keep things simple and professional. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a consistent font style and size throughout the entire letter to maintain a uniform look.
  • Avoid using too many colors and graphics as this can detract from the content of your message.
  • If you need to use bullet points to highlight important information, keep them concise and to the point.

By following these formatting guidelines, you can ensure that your cover letter looks polished and professional, making a great first impression on potential employers.

Examples of Cover Letters for Different Job Roles

The structure and content of a cover letter may vary depending on the job role you are applying for. Here are three examples of cover letters tailored to different job levels:

Sample Cover Letter 1: Entry-Level Position

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am excited to apply for the entry-level position at XYZ Company. As a recent graduate with a degree in marketing, I am eager to apply my skills and knowledge in a professional setting.

In my previous internships, I have developed a strong understanding of marketing strategies and social media management. I am confident that my ability to learn quickly and work collaboratively will allow me to make a valuable contribution to your team.

Thank you for considering my application.

Sincerely, [Your Name]

Sample Cover Letter 2: Mid-Level Position

I am writing to express my interest in the mid-level position at ABC Corporation. With over five years of experience in project management and team leadership, I believe that I have the skills and expertise necessary to excel in this role.

Throughout my career, I have demonstrated a strong ability to manage complex projects and deliver results on time and within budget. Additionally, my experience in mentoring and coaching team members has allowed me to effectively collaborate with colleagues and foster a positive work environment.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further.

Best regards, [Your Name]

Sample Cover Letter 3: Executive Position

Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],

I am thrilled to apply for the executive position at XYZ Corporation. With over 15 years of experience in executive leadership roles, I possess a deep understanding of organizational strategy, financial management, and stakeholder engagement.

During my tenure at ABC Company, I played a crucial role in driving revenue growth and expanding our market share. My ability to build strong relationships with internal and external stakeholders has been instrumental in achieving these results.

I am confident that my strategic vision and leadership capabilities align with the requirements of this position. Thank you for considering my application.

Best Practices for Writing Cover Letters

To increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams, it’s essential to follow some best practices when it comes to writing your cover letter. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

Do your research before writing

Before you begin drafting your cover letter, you must do your homework. This means researching the company you are applying to, understanding their values, goals, and mission, and reviewing the job description to ensure you understand the skills and requirements the employer is looking for. Armed with this knowledge, you can tailor your cover letter to highlight your most relevant experience and accomplishments.

Use an active and professional tone

When writing your cover letter, it’s important to use an active and professional tone. Avoid using passive language or cliches, and be sure to highlight your enthusiasm for the role and the company. Keep your tone positive and upbeat, and show the employer what sets you apart from other candidates.

Edit and proofread your cover letter

Your cover letter is your chance to make a great first impression with the employer, so it’s crucial to ensure that it is free of errors and typos. Take the time to edit and proofread your document carefully, paying close attention to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. You might even consider having a friend or colleague review your cover letter for feedback.

Follow up with the employer after submitting your application

After submitting your cover letter and resume, it’s a good idea to follow up with the employer within a week or so to show your interest in the position. You might send an email or give the employer a call to inquire about the status of your application and to reiterate your enthusiasm for the role.

By following these best practices for writing cover letters, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a winning application that will help you stand out from the competition. Good luck!

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a cover letter should not be which of the following

  • Working, jobs and pensions
  • Holidays, time off, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave
  • Simplifying holiday entitlement and holiday pay calculations
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Holiday pay and entitlement reforms from 1 January 2024

Published 1 January 2024

a cover letter should not be which of the following

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This publication is licensed under the terms of the Open Government Licence v3.0 except where otherwise stated. To view this licence, visit nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3 or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: [email protected] .

Where we have identified any third party copyright information you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holders concerned.

This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-holiday-entitlement-and-holiday-pay-calculations/holiday-pay-and-entitlement-reforms-from-1-january-2024

This guidance sets out the changes to the Working Time Regulations which the government introduced on 1 January 2024.

It does not provide definitive answers to all individual queries. It is not intended to be relied upon in any specific context or as a substitute for seeking advice (legal or otherwise) on a specific circumstance, as each case may be different. If employers introduce changes to terms and conditions, they must seek to reach an agreement with their workers or their representatives. 

The guidance focuses on the legal minimum entitlement of 5.6 weeks’ paid holiday. Many workers will have contracts entitling them to additional paid holiday beyond the statutory minimum. This additional holiday is known as contractual holiday entitlement. Individual contracts should be checked first, and if necessary, independent legal advice sought.

All the illustrative holiday pay calculations provided in this guidance use gross pay data (before any taxes or deductions).

All references to ‘worker’ refer to all individuals whose employment status is either as a ‘worker’ or an ‘employee’, meaning they are entitled to paid holiday. Visit  employment status  for further information on employment status and definitions.

Before reading this guidance, you should check the guidance on holiday entitlement . This explains how to calculate holiday entitlement and pay for the majority of workers.

1. Introduction

The government has introduced reforms to simplify holiday entitlement and holiday pay calculations in the Working Time Regulations.

These changes include:

  • defining irregular hours workers and part-year workers in relation to the introduction of the holiday entitlement accrual method and rolled-up holiday pay (see section 2)
  • introducing a method to calculate statutory holiday entitlement for irregular hours and part-year workers (see section 3.1)
  • introducing a method to work out how much leave an irregular hour or part-year worker has accrued when they take maternity or family related leave or are off sick (see section 3.4)
  • removing the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 which affect the accrual of COVID-19 carryover of leave (see section 4.1)
  • maintaining the current rates of holiday pay where 4 weeks is paid at normal rate of pay and 1.6 weeks paid at basic rate of pay, whilst retaining the 2 distinct pots of leave (see section 5.1)
  • defining what is considered ‘normal remuneration’ in relation to the 4 weeks of statutory annual leave (see section 5.1)
  • introducing rolled-up holiday pay as an alternative method to calculate holiday pay for irregular hours workers and part-year workers (see section 5.2)

Note that the following reforms will only apply to leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024:

2. Definition of an irregular hour worker and a part-year worker

A definition for irregular hours workers and part-year workers has been set out in regulations. This is so that employers know which workers the accrual method for entitlement and the introduction of rolled up holiday pay apply to.

How a worker is classified will depend on the precise nature of their working arrangements. We would encourage employers to ensure that working patterns are clear in their workers’ contracts.

The government has defined irregular and part-year as the following.

Note: a pay period is how frequently a worker gets paid, for example, monthly.

2.1 Irregular hours worker

A worker is an irregular hours worker, in relation to a leave year, if the number of paid hours that they will work in each pay period during the term of their contract in that year is, under the terms of their contract, wholly or mostly variable.

  • Kevin, a hospitality worker who works a different number of hours each week.

Kevin would qualify as an irregular hours worker if his contract says that the hours he works will be wholly or mostly variable in each pay period. Kevin’s contract could be a ‘casual’ contract, otherwise known as a zero-hours contract. Find more information on zero hour contracts . 

  • Paul, who has a rotating 2-week shift pattern where he works 15 hours in week 1 and 20 hours in week 2. He does not work overtime.

Paul would not qualify as an irregular hours worker if his contracted hours are fixed during both week 1 and week 2. Given that Paul does not work overtime, it is not the case that his hours worked are wholly or mostly variable. Instead, Paul’s hours are fixed (just worked in a rotating shift pattern).

2.2 Part-year worker

A worker is a part-year worker, in relation to a leave year, if, under the terms of their contract, they are required to work only part of that year and there are periods within that year (during the term of the contract) of at least a week which they are not required to work and for which they are not paid. This includes part-year workers who may have fixed hours, for example, teaching assistants who only work during term time, and who are paid only when working.

  • Melanie, a seasonal worker in the farming industry who only works and gets paid during spring and summer months.

Melanie would qualify as a part-year worker if her contract reflects that there are periods of time that last more than a week when she is not contracted to work and does not receive pay. 

  • Ian, who is paid an annualised (flat) salary over 12 months but has periods of time that last more than one week where he is not working.

Ian would not qualify as part-year worker if his contract reflects that there are weeks where he is not working and there are no weeks where he does not receive pay. (Ian would need to not receive pay during the periods he is not working, in order to be classified as a part-year worker).

3. Holiday entitlement for irregular hours workers and part-year workers

3.1 how statutory holiday entitlement is accrued.

For workers who are not irregular hours or part-year workers, there is no change in how their statutory holiday entitlement is accrued. The method remains so that in the first year of employment, workers receive one twelfth of the statutory entitlement on the first day of each month. After the first year of employment, a worker gets holiday entitlement based upon their statutory and contractual entitlement. Their entitlement will be based upon the proportion of a week which they are contracted to work. This is known as ‘pro-rating’.

For leave years that begin before 1 April 2024, holiday entitlement will continue to be calculated in the same way for irregular hours and part-year workers. Use the holiday entitlement calculator to work out entitlement.

For leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024, there is a new accrual method for irregular hour workers and part-year workers in the first year of employment and beyond. Holiday entitlement for these workers will be calculated as 12.07% of actual hours worked in a pay period.

Example of how statutory holiday entitlement is accrued

Jill works irregular hours and is paid monthly. Her leave year starts on 1 April 2024. She is entitled to the statutory minimum holiday entitlement only.

In June, she works 68 hours. To work out how much holiday she accrues in June, you will need to calculate 12.07% of 68 hours.

Table 1: calculation of statutory holiday accrual for irregular hours and part-year workers

Answer: Jill accrues 8 hours of holiday during the month of June.

Note: the hours can be rounded down (to zero if it is less than 30 minutes) but will be rounded up to one hour if it is 30 minutes or more than 30 minutes.

The 12.07% figure is based on the fact that all workers are entitled to 5.6 weeks’ leave. This means that a worker’s total working weeks in a year is 46.4 (52 weeks in a year minus 5.6 weeks of leave). 12.07% of 46.4 is 5.6.

This figure is based on the statutory minimum holiday entitlement (5.6 weeks). An irregular hour or part-year worker may be entitled to more than the minimum, if this is specified in their contract.

To find the relevant percentage for these workers, you would need to do the following calculation: (total holiday entitlement ÷ remaining working weeks in the year) x 100.

For example, if a part-year worker is entitled to 6 weeks of leave as per their contract, then:

6 ÷ 46 = 0.1304

0.1304 x 100 = 13.04

Therefore, this worker’s holiday entitlement would be calculated as 13.04% of actual hours worked in a pay period.

The accrual method to work out entitlement will apply to an agency worker if the agency worker’s arrangements fall within the meanings of both a “worker” (as already defined) and either an “irregular hours worker” or a “part-year worker”, as per the new definition in the Working Time Regulations.

An agency worker who is a “worker” but not an “irregular hours worker” or a “part-year worker”, will continue to accrue leave at one twelfth of their entitlement at the start of each month during their first year of employment.

Statutory paid holiday entitlement is limited to 28 days. For example, staff working 6 days a week are only entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday.

3.2 Leave entitlement when leaving a job part-way through a leave year

If a worker leaves their job part-way through a leave year, a calculation should be completed to check the worker has received the statutory minimum holiday entitlement to which they are entitled. Any shortfall should be paid in lieu of untaken leave. 

In such cases, statutory annual leave entitlement can be calculated as:  

Leave entitlement for full year × Proportion of leave year in employment  

This is calculated in a 3-step method:  

Calculate the worker’s full annual leave entitlement.  

Work out the proportion of the leave year in employment.

Pro-rate based on the proportion of the year in employment.  

Days worked per week example

Edward has been working for his current employer for more than a year, working 6 days per week. His current leave year started on 1 July 2024, ending 30 June 2025 and he is leaving his role on Saturday 16 November 2024.

Table 2: calculation of leave entitlement when leaving during leave year, based on days per week

Answer: Edward’s statutory holiday entitlement is 10.7 days.

3.3 Hours worked per week

Where workers work a fixed number of hours each week but not the same number of hours each day, the legislation does not state how to incorporate the 28-day statutory cap when calculating their full annual leave entitlement. In our view it is appropriate to incorporate the cap as 28 days of the worker’s average working day.  

Therefore, statutory leave entitlement should be calculated in days, and then multiplied by the average length of the working day.

The average working day is defined as:

Average working day = hours worked per week ÷ days worked per week.

Example of calculating holiday entitlement when on fixed hours

Irene works a total of 30 hours over 4 days a week, working 9 hours on Monday and Wednesday and 6 hours on Tuesday and Thursday. 

Her statutory entitlement in days is the lower of 28 days or 5.6 x 4 days (22.4 days). Therefore, Irene’s full statutory annual leave is 22.4 days. 

Her average working day is 30 hours divided by 4 days, or 7.5 hours per day. 

Therefore, Irene’s statutory holiday entitlement for a full leave year is 22.4 days x 7.5 hours = 168.0 hours a year. 

Depending on which days she takes off as leave, it will either be 6 hours or 9 hours from her total leave entitlement.

Workers who leave employment have their annual leave pro-rated based on the time that they spent in work as a proportion of the year. This is calculated based on calendar days in employment, not days spent at work.  

This is calculated in a 4-step method:  

Work out the proportion of the leave year worked.

Pro-rate based on the proportion of the year worked.  

In our view, it is appropriate to then multiply by the average working day to convert into hours.

Example of calculating leave when worker leaves during leave year when on fixed hours

Mary has been working for her current employer for more than a year, working 45 hours a week over 4 days. Her leave year started on 1 April 2024, running until 31 March 2025 and she is leaving her role on Thursday 25 July 2024.

Table 3: calculation of entitlement for a worker who works fixed hours leaving during a leave year

Answer: Rounded to the nearest hour, Mary’s statutory holiday entitlement in hours is 80 hours.

3.4 Calculating statutory holiday entitlement accrued by irregular hours and part-year workers while they are on maternity or family related leave or off sick

Some irregular hours and part-year workers may take maternity or family related leave or be off sick within an annual leave year. Whether a worker can take maternity or family related leave depends on their employment status. Visit  employment status  for further information.

Maternity or family related leave (defined as ‘statutory leave’) includes leave such as maternity leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave and adoption leave. During these absences from work, a worker would continue to accrue leave. Annual leave cannot be taken during a period of maternity leave. Some other types of family-related leave can be taken in blocks with annual leave in between. Visit holidays, time off, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave for more information.

A calculation method has been introduced for leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024 to help employers find out how much leave is accrued by an irregular hours or part-year worker in such circumstances. The calculation method follows the same principle as the accrual method for statutory holiday entitlement outlined in section 3.1.

However, as the accrual method relies on the employer knowing how many hours someone has worked, this method introduces a 52-week relevant period so employers can look back and work out an average of hours worked across that period, to inform what period of leave should be deemed to have accrued during the period of absence.

The relevant period would run from the day before the worker starts their maternity or family related leave or time off sick, going back for 52 weeks. When calculating the average weekly hours worked, employers should not include weeks where the worker is on maternity or family related leave or off sick for any amount of time. However, weeks not worked for any other reason should be included. If the worker has not worked for the employer for 52 weeks, the relevant period is shortened to the number of weeks the worker worked for the employer.

The employer is only required to perform this calculation once per period of leave.

The calculation method is set out below in Table 4.

Example: part-year worker on maternity leave

Harriet is a part-year worker who is entitled to the minimum 5.6 weeks statutory holiday. Over a 52-week period, she worked in 26 weeks, for a total of 1032 hours. She then took the following 40 weeks as maternity leave.

Table 4: method for calculating statutory holiday entitlement accrued by irregular hours and part-year workers while off sick or on statutory leave

Answer: Harriet accrued 107 hours of holiday entitlement while on maternity leave.

Most employers will be using this calculation for workers who only take a single period of leave, such as maternity leave.

However, it is possible that some workers who are eligible may take multiple periods of maternity or family related leave or be off sick multiple times during the 52-week relevant period. For example, a worker may take maternity leave, return to work, then be off sick at some point within the next 52 weeks.

Employers will need to take into account these previous periods of maternity or family related leave or time off sick when calculating the statutory holiday entitlement accrued during subsequent periods. This may mean that the relevant period needs to go back further than 52 weeks, up to 104 weeks. If a worker has not worked with the employer for long enough and there are fewer than 52 weeks to take into account, then the relevant period is shortened to that lower number of complete weeks.

Example: part-year worker on multiple periods of maternity or family related leave or who is off sick

Sharon is a part-year worker. Over a 52-week period she worked in 39 weeks, for a total of 832 hours. She then took 19 weeks of shared parental leave.

Sharon then returned to work for 5 weeks, working 88 hours in total. She then proceeded to take a further 4 weeks of shared parental leave.

After this second period of shared parental leave, she returned to work for 6 weeks, working 108 hours. Sharon was then off sick for 3 days.

Her employer will need to calculate her statutory holiday entitlement after each of these leave periods.

Table 5: a part-year worker who takes multiple periods of maternity or family related leave or takes time off sick - first period

First period of maternity or family related leave or period off sick (19 weeks of shared parental leave for Sharon).

Answer: Sharon accrued 41 hours of statutory holiday entitlement while on her first period of shared parental leave.

Table 5.1: a part-year worker who takes multiple periods of maternity or family related leave or takes time off sick - second period

Second period of maternity or family related leave or time off sick (4 weeks of shared parental leave for Sharon)

Answer: Sharon accrued 9 hours of statutory holiday entitlement while on her second period of shared parental leave.

Table 5.2: a part-year worker who takes multiple periods of maternity or family related leave or takes time off sick - third period

Third period of maternity or family related leave or sickness (3 days off sick leave for Sharon).

Sharon accrued 1 hour of statutory holiday entitlement while she was off sick.

4. Carryover of leave

From 1 January 2024 the following principles relating to the carryover of annual leave apply.

Workers can normally carry over a maximum of 8 days into the next leave year, with the agreement of their employer.

If a worker gets more than 28 days’ leave, their employer may allow them to carry over any additional untaken leave. Check the employment contract, company handbook or intranet to see what the rules say.

If any worker is unable to take some or all of their statutory holiday entitlement as a result of taking a period of maternity or other family related leave, then they will be entitled to carry forward up to 28 days of their untaken leave into the following leave year.

If a worker working regular hours and all year round is unable to take some or all of their statutory holiday entitlement as a result of being off sick, then the worker will be entitled to carry forward up to 20 days of their untaken leave into the following leave year, provided it is then taken by the end of the period of 18 months starting from the end of the leave year in which it was accrued. These 20 days should be paid at the ‘normal’ rate.

An irregular hour’s worker or part-year worker will be entitled to carry over up to 28 days of leave in these circumstances. Again, this worker would need to use that leave they have carried over within 18 months starting from the end of the leave year in which it accrued.

An employer must allow a worker who is unable to take their statutory holiday entitlement as they are on maternity or other family related leave to carry over all their holiday entitlement to the following leave year.

A worker will be entitled to carry forward into the next year the leave that they should have been entitled to take if:

  • the employer has refused to pay a worker their paid leave entitlement
  • the employer has not given the worker a reasonable opportunity to take their leave and encouraged them to do so; or
  • the employer failed to inform the worker that untaken leave will must be used before the end of the leave year to prevent it from being lost

The above scenarios should be avoided as it is important that workers are able to take their annual leave. This is to enable workers to rest from carrying out the work they are required to do under their contract of employment.

4.1 Leave affected by COVID-19

Previously, workers could carry over untaken leave into the next 2 years if they could not take it because their work was affected by coronavirus.

From 1 January 2024, workers can no longer accrue COVID carryover leave. Workers will still be able to use the leave they accrued prior to 1 January 2024 before or on 31 March 2024.

Workers whose employment terminates on or before 31 March 2024 are able to claim any pay in lieu of any remaining entitlement they were unable to use due to the effects of coronavirus. 

5. Holiday pay calculations

5.1 holiday pay rates.

All full-year workers, except those who are genuinely self-employed, are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid statutory holiday entitlement per year. Four weeks of this entitlement must be paid at a worker’s ‘normal’ rate of pay (as specified by Regulation 13 of the Working Time Regulations). This could include regular payments, such as overtime, regular bonuses and commission. The remaining 1.6 weeks’ entitlement can be paid at ‘basic’ rate of pay, that is, the worker’s basic remuneration (as specified by Regulation 13A).

The regulations do not state which entitlement should be used first. Many employers choose not to distinguish between the 2 pots of leave, and to pay the entire 5.6 weeks at the ‘normal’ rate of pay. If an employer wishes to pay different holiday rates for different periods of leave, then they should consider explaining this clearly and consistently to the worker, for example in the worker’s contract or staff handbook.

Holiday pay is based on the legal principle that a worker should not suffer financially for taking holiday. The amount of pay that a worker receives for the holiday they take depends on the number of hours they work and how they are paid for those hours. Pay received by a worker while they are on holiday should reflect what they would have earned if they had been at work and working.

From 1 January 2024, the components which must be included when calculating ‘normal’ rate of pay are defined in regulations.

The following payments must be included in the 4 weeks of normal (regulation 13 leave) holiday pay: 

  • payments, including commission payments, intrinsically linked to the performance of tasks which a worker is contractually obliged to carry out
  • payments relating to professional or personal status relating to length of service, seniority or professional qualifications
  • other payments, such as overtime payments, which have been regularly paid to a worker in the 52 weeks preceding the calculation date

Workers with regular hours and fixed pay must receive the same holiday pay as the pay they would receive if they were at work and working. For example, workers typically on a fixed monthly salary, if they take a week’s holiday, they will receive the same pay at the end of the month as they normally receive.

For leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024, part-year and irregular hours workers are legally entitled up to a maximum amount of 5.6 weeks of paid statutory holiday entitlement per year, calculated according to actual hours worked using the 12.07% accrual method. If their employer chooses to use rolled-up holiday pay, then the entire amount of their leave for irregular hours and part-year workers will be paid at the ‘normal’ rate of pay.

The rolled-up holiday pay method is set out below. Employers may choose not to use rolled-up holiday pay, in which case they can use the existing 52-week reference period method to look back at a worker’s previous 52 paid weeks to calculate what that worker should be paid for a week’s leave. Both methods are set out in more detail in the sections below. Workers who are irregular hours or part-year workers will have all of their statutory holiday entitlement paid at a rate based on their total pay, whether it is calculated as rolled-up holiday pay or by reference to the previous 52 weeks.

5.2 Rolled-up holiday pay

Rolled-up holiday pay allows employers to include an additional amount with every payslip to cover a worker’s holiday pay, as opposed to paying holiday pay when a worker takes annual leave.

The regulations allow employers to use rolled-up holiday pay as an additional method for calculating holiday pay for irregular hour and part-year workers only, for leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024.

The calculation of holiday pay by employers is 12.07% of a worker’s total pay as 12.07% is the proportion of statutory annual leave in relation to the working weeks of each year, for example, 5.6 weeks of statutory annual leave divided by 46.4 working weeks of the year.

Employers using rolled-up holiday pay should calculate it based on a worker’s total pay in a pay period. A pay period is the frequency at which workers get paid, that is weekly, fortnightly, monthly, and the like.  

If employers intend to start using rolled-up holiday pay, they should check their workers’ contract in case this amounts to a variation of contract. Employers should tell their workers if they intend to start using rolled-up holiday pay and for this payment to be clearly marked as a separate item on each payslip. The holiday pay should be paid at the same time as the worker is paid for the work done in each pay period. Employers of agency workers must include this information in the agency worker’s Key Information Document.

The holiday pay should be paid at the same time as the worker is paid for the work done in each pay period. Rolled-up holiday pay is to be paid in addition to the worker’s normal salary, which should be at National Minimum Wage or above. If annual leave is carried over where a worker is paid using rolled-up holiday pay, the leave will already have been paid at the time the work was done.

Employers that do not want to use rolled-up holiday pay for irregular hour and part-year workers can continue to use the existing 52-week reference period to calculate holiday pay for irregular hour workers if they choose to do so as set out in section 5.3 below.

If a worker who receives rolled-up holiday pay goes off sick or takes maternity / family-related leave during a pay period, their rolled-up holiday pay would be calculated according to average amount of the worker’s total earnings in each pay period during the 52-week relevant period.

Tables 6 and 7 below set out how to calculate how much rolled up holiday pay a worker could receive under different scenarios.  

Example: holiday entitlement when paid weekly

Hana works irregular hours and is paid weekly. Her hourly rate is £10.42 per hour for all shifts. In the week 1 October to 7 October, Hana worked 35 hours.

To work out how much rolled-up holiday pay Hana is entitled to, you will need to calculate 12.07% of Hana’s total pay in this pay period.

Table 6: rolled-up holiday pay calculation when a worker’s basic pay is their normal pay

Answer: Hana is entitled to receive £44.06 rolled-up holiday pay in her payslip for the period 1 October to 7 October.

Example: holiday entitlement when paid fortnightly

Mark works irregular hours and is paid fortnightly. His hourly rate is £11 per hour (normal hourly rate) for shifts 7am to 11:59pm and £12 per hour (enhanced hourly rate) for shifts midnight to 6:59am. In the fortnight 1 August to 14 August, Mark worked 40 hours. He worked 20 hours at normal rate (£11 per hour) and 20 hours at an enhanced rate (£12 per hour).

To work out how much rolled-up holiday pay Mark is entitled to, you will need to calculate 12.07% of Mark’s total pay in this pay period.

Table 7: rolled-up holiday pay calculation when a worker’s shifts are at a premium rate

Answer: Mark is entitled to receive £55.52 rolled-up holiday pay in his payslip for the period 1 August to 14 August.

As Table 7 shows, the calculation for rolled-up holiday pay applies to a worker’s total pay in a pay period, regardless of differing hourly rates of pay.

5.3 A 52-week reference period to calculate holiday pay

Where a worker has irregular hours or works part of the year, employers can calculate their holiday pay using an average from the last 52 weeks in which they have worked and have earned pay.

If a worker has not been in employment for long enough to build up 52 weeks’ worth of pay data, their employer should use however many complete weeks of data they have. For example, if a worker has been with their employer for 26 complete weeks, that is what the employer should use.

If a worker takes leave before they have been in their job a complete week, then the employer has no data to use for the reference period. In this case the reference period is not used. Instead, the employer should pay the worker an amount which fairly represents their pay for the length of time the worker is on leave.

In working out what is fair, the employer should take into account:

  • the worker’s pay for the job
  • the pay already received by the worker (if any)
  • what other workers doing a comparable role for the employer (or for other employers) are paid

How far back employers should look

To prevent employers having to look back more than 2 years to reach 52 weeks’ of pay data, there is a cap on how far back employers should look.

Any weeks that are before the 104 complete weeks prior to the first day of the worker’s holiday are not included. In this case the reference period is shortened to however many weeks are available in this 104-week period.

Employers should still only count back as far as is needed to achieve 52-weeks’ worth of pay data if this is less than 104 weeks.

Where a worker has been employed by their employer for less than 52 weeks, the reference period is shortened to the number of weeks of their employment.

The reference period must only include weeks for which the worker was actually paid. It must not include weeks where they were not paid as they did not work. Where this gives less than 52 weeks to take into account (that is, where the worker has many weeks without any remuneration), the reference period is shortened to that lower number of weeks.

If a worker started work 30 weeks ago, employers should use pay data from as many of those weeks that the worker was paid to calculate the worker’s holiday pay and provide a fair rate of pay.

If an employer has counted back over 104 weeks and has only found 40 weeks of pay data for a worker, then the employer should use these 40 weeks of pay data.

If a worker has taken a period of leave within the 52-week reference period, then any weeks on which no pay was due should not be included when calculating pay (in contrast to the calculation of holiday accrued). Any weeks with time off sick or on maternity/ family-related leave are also excluded from the reference period. Instead, additional earlier paid weeks should be included to achieve the 52-week total.

The definition of a ‘week’ for the purpose of the holiday pay reference period

The relevant definitions within the Employment Rights Act 1996 are:

  • a week starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday;
  • the holiday pay reference period should start from the last complete working week that was worked ending on or before the first day of leave, starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday.

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the holiday pay reference period starts from the last whole week ending on or before the first day of the period of leave. This will typically be a week from Sunday to Saturday, but it could end on another day of the week if a worker is paid on a weekly basis.

There is an exception for workers whose pay is calculated weekly by a week ending on a day other than Saturday. In these cases, a week is treated as ending with that other day. For example, if a worker’s pay is calculated by a week ending with a Wednesday, then the employer should treat a week as starting on a Thursday and finishing on a Wednesday.

Table 8: 52-week reference period holiday pay calculation examples

5.4 calculating holiday pay for irregular hours workers and part-year workers.

If the reference period method of accrual is used, the holiday pay irregular hour workers and part-year workers receive will be their average pay over the previous 52 weeks worked. This involves taking the last whole week in which they worked and earned pay, ending on a Saturday, as the most recent week. (If the worker is paid weekly on a day other than a Saturday, this would not apply).

The reference period must include the last 52 weeks for which they actually earned, and so excludes any weeks where no work was performed as well as any time when the worker was on sick leave or maternity or family related leave.

This may mean that the actual reference period takes into account pay data from further back than 52 weeks from the date of their leave. However, it should go back no more than 104 weeks. If this gives fewer than 52 weeks to take into account, then the reference period is shortened to that lower number of weeks.

A paid week will include a week in which the worker was paid any amount for work undertaken during that week. Only if no pay at all is received in a week, should it be discounted as part of the 52-week reference period.

The following example uses a worker’s gross pay data to set out how to calculate paid and non-paid weeks.

Table 9: illustration of paid and non-paid weeks, for the 52-week reference period method for holiday pay

An employer should discount weeks 6, 23 to 25 and 46 to 48 in Table 9, which is 7 weeks, as there was no pay in these weeks, reflecting that the worker performed no work. As 7 weeks have to be discounted, the employer must go back a further 7 weeks to take the total to 52 weeks of pay data when calculating holiday pay for this period. These extra weeks are weeks 53 to 59 in Table 9.

The total pay over the 52 weeks is calculated by summing the pay for each week. The calculation is:

(1 × £300) + (4 × £350) + (1 × £10) + (15 × £100) + (15 × £400) + (5 × £200) + (6 × £180) + (5 × £150) = £12,040.

This is then divided by the 52 weeks-worth of data used to calculate the average:

£12,040 ÷ 52 = £231.54.

A week’s holiday taken in the week following would therefore be paid at a rate of £231.54 (which is the average weekly pay from the pay data in Table 9).

5.5 Payment in lieu

If an irregular hour worker or part-year worker does not take their accrued holiday entitlement by the time they leave employment, they should be paid for this untaken holiday (known as ‘payment in lieu’).

This should be calculated by working out the individual’s remaining holiday entitlement and then working out their holiday pay for this period. Employers should remember to deduct any holiday taken from the total holiday entitlement to correctly calculate the remaining holiday the worker is entitled to.

A worker is employed for 2 weeks. They start to accrue holiday entitlement from Day 1 but take no holiday leave during the 2-week period.

At the end of their contract (termination of employment) they should be paid in lieu for all holiday accrued during this 2-week period.

Holiday pay for the leave accrued should then be calculated using an average of the 2 weeks in which they were paid.

6. Additional resources

Workers should not suffer detriment for querying whether they are receiving the correct holiday entitlement and pay.

If workers feel that they are being denied their statutory holiday entitlement or holiday pay or any other employment rights, they may wish to speak to the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) .

Acas provide free and impartial advice to employers and workers on employment matters. You can read their guidance on holiday entitlement and pay for more information .

Contact information for Acas is below:

Acas helpline Telephone: 0300 123 11 00 Textphone: 18001 0300 123 1100 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges

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Claudine Gay’s Resignation Was Overdue

Her accusers acted in bad faith, but they’re not wrong.

Former Harvard president Claudine Gay testifies at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington DC

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here.

Claudine Gay engaged in academic misconduct. Everything else about her case is irrelevant, including the silly claims of her right-wing opponents.

First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic :

  • Hamas doesn’t want a cease-fire, Graeme Wood argues.
  • When did humans first start wearing clothes?
  • Whatever happened to Zika?

When Truth Comes From Terrible People

Claudine Gay is stepping down as the president of Harvard University. Her decision is right and even overdue.

Despite the results of an investigation commissioned by the Harvard Corporation last month that found cases only of “inadequate” citation, new charges about her work include episodes of what most scholars would recognize as academic misconduct, including plagiarism. Experts consulted by CNN consider the recent excerpts to be plagiarism, and I agree: I was a professor for almost 35 years, at multiple institutions, including Harvard, where I taught courses for their continuing-education and summer programs for 18 years. I have referred students for varying punishments based on similar misconduct; I have also sat on boards that adjudicated such claims.

There is no way around the reality that the person responsible for Claudine Gay’s predicament is Claudine Gay.

Perhaps in a few instances , Gay forgot to attribute a source or place a footnote. But that’s not the issue. All of us who write academic works (I’ve written seven books, five for university presses) could probably get called out for some clunky paraphrasing or a few bad footnotes. And sure, maybe her dissertation committee and her later peer reviewers and editors might have been too forgiving (or inattentive). No scholars carry a full compendium of their field’s works in their head; spotting plagiarism or poor attribution is difficult even with advanced software, and it was a lot harder to do before such technological innovations.

But these new revelations about Gay’s work seem to show a pattern that is too damning to ignore and transcends excuses about sloppiness or accidents. Any scholar—to say nothing of any student—with this many problems in their work would be in a world of professional trouble. And in the end, Gay’s name is on her dissertation and her published papers. She, like every author, is ultimately responsible for the integrity of her work. (Gay has defended her scholarship , but her letter announcing her resignation makes no mention of any of the various academic accusations regarding her work.)

None of this is to excuse the general awfulness of the people who have reveled in Gay’s problems. When the Harvard president, along with the presidents of the University of Pennsylvania and MIT, fumbled their way through questions about campus anti-Semitism during a congressional committee hearing led by Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, a proud MAGA Republican, Stefanik and the right-wing gadfly Christopher Rufo used Gay’s appearance to put her in the spotlight. Penn’s leader, Liz Magill, has since resigned, and Stefanik now claims Gay’s presidency as another professional kill: “I will always deliver results,” she crowed today, as if her sham hearing on anti-Semitism was the cause of Gay’s downfall.

Issues of academic misconduct aside, I’d question the judgment of any university president who answers an invitation to argue with the likes of Stefanik. But Stefanik and Rufo did not write Gay’s dissertation, and they did not co-author her scholarly articles. Feel free to deplore the messengers, their vulturine creepiness, and their gleeful opportunism. Their own failings still do not make what they found any less true. In the real world, truth sometimes comes from terrible people with dishonorable motives; if we were to purity-test the motives of every defector who handed us documents during the Cold War, we’d have had to shred incredibly valuable information on the silly grounds that the people who gave it to us weren’t very nice.

Some of Gay’s defenders , especially in academia, have nevertheless taken the bait from right-wingers who always wanted to make Gay’s very existence as Harvard’s president into a larger debate about diversity and race on campus. Gay herself, in her resignation letter , speaks of racist attacks against her. (Gay has been subjected to harassment and threats since the moment she appeared on the Hill—and likely a lot earlier—and certainly before anyone had even bothered to look at her published work.)

But none of that is relevant to the charges themselves. Look, there is a term for the particular kind of plagiarism discovered by racists and other bad people:

Plagiarism .

Here, we should recall that Gay is not the first person whose scholarly work got another look because of sudden political notoriety. Back in 2001, for example, a professor at the University of Colorado named Ward Churchill wrote some ghastly things about the people who died in 9/11, including comparing the victims in the World Trade Center to the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann. After this bravura jerkitude came to light, Churchill’s critics pushed for investigation into his published works, and in 2006, the university found that he had engaged in misconduct, including plagiarism and fabrication. It dismissed him the next year.

Claudine Gay is no Ward Churchill, but her situation is the same: A burst of attention drew political opponents to look more closely at her work. Her appearance during the congressional hearing was a bad idea for many reasons, but what happened afterward, no matter how much anyone might deplore the kinds of people involved in this case, was not a witch hunt. Racists gladly joined this effort to oust Gay, but her shortcomings are not excused by the racism of her attackers, and Gay’s colleagues in the academic world should stop engaging people on the right who are making bad-faith arguments.

Every academic knows that putting their name on a published work verifies that they have done their utmost to observe their obligations as scholars. Gay failed in those obligations. She engaged in academic misconduct. The conduct was discovered (and how it was discovered does not matter). She must take responsibility for that misconduct, and so she has, by resigning her post.

  • An old-fashioned scandal fells a new Harvard president.
  • Harvard has a veritas problem.

Today’s News

  • A drone strike on a Hamas office in Beirut killed multiple people , including Saleh al-Arouri, a high-ranking Hamas official who was “one of the architects” of the October 7 attack against Israel, according to Hamas. Israeli and U.S. officials confirmed to Axios that Israel was behind the drone strike, but Israel has not claimed responsibility.
  • A 7.5-magnitude earthquake hit western Japan yesterday afternoon, according to the United States Geological Survey , killing at least 57 people.
  • Federal prosecutors charged Senator Robert Menendez with accepting bribes from a prominent New Jersey developer in exchange for using his influence to help the Qatari government.

Evening Read

A pink image of a man slipping a wedding ring onto a woman's finger

The Least Common, Least Loved Names in America

By Rachel Gutman-Wei

When my husband and I got married, we decided we should share a last name, and that the name should be hyphenated. He didn’t want to lose a marker of his Chinese heritage, and I didn’t want to co-opt one—or give up my name if he wasn’t giving up his. So we just smushed our names together on the marriage license, figuring this was a normal thing to do, or at least unobjectionable. But objections have indeed been raised. Not yet to my face—the worst I’ve heard has been along the lines of “I’d never hyphenate, but that’s great for you.” But I also know that anti-hyphen sentiment is widely shared: Very few American newlyweds hyphenate their names, survey data show, and it’s not hard to find op-eds that describe the practice as “crazy” and “pretentious” … My husband and I were both bemused to discover that names like ours could inspire so much antipathy. Why does a silly little hyphen make so many people uncomfortable, or unsettled, or even—God forbid—uncomfortable-unsettled?

Read the full article.

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Culture Break

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Watch CBS News

Jeffrey Epstein contact names revealed in unsealed documents. Here are key takeaways from the files.

By Cara Tabachnick, Allison Elyse Gualtieri

Updated on: January 5, 2024 / 2:46 PM EST / CBS News

Documents that include the names of more than 100 people connected to Jeffrey Epstein , including business associates and accusers, among others, have now been made public, following a federal judge's December ruling that the information be unsealed . 

More than 900 pages of mostly unredacted documents were released Wednesday, Jan. 3. A second batch of documents was released Thursday, Jan. 4, and a third batch the day after that .

Much of the information has been previously reported, and many of those whose names are mentioned are not accused of any wrongdoing.

Though the unsealed court documents don't contain an actual list of associates, the names were expected to include some that also appeared on the flight logs of Epstein's private jet, nicknamed the "Lolita Express," which he often used to fly to his private island in the Caribbean. Those manifests and other documents, such as his private calendar, had previously been made public, including as part of legal proceedings or public records requests. Many of those who had business or social ties with Epstein, a convicted sex offender, have denied any misconduct or involvement in his activities.

The release of the names stems from a now-settled defamation lawsuit brought in 2015 by Virginia Giuffre, who accused British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell of enabling her abuse by Epstein. 

Maxwell was found guilty by a New York jury in 2021 on conspiracy and trafficking charges related to Epstein, her longtime friend and sometime romantic partner, and her role for a decade in the abuse of underage girls. 

What is in the Jeffrey Epstein-related court documents?

Court documents list 184 "J. Does," starting at J. Doe #3 through J. Doe #187. Some names are repeated twice. A small number are the names of minors or sexual assault victims, which the judge specified won't be released. 

According to a court record released Jan. 3, documents for two Does — 107 and 110 — will not be immediately released. One was granted an extension until Jan. 22 for her appeal about the release and the other's appeal is still under review.

In many cases, the names in the documents "really are of innocent people. It's people who may have been employed, it's people who may have gone to dinner or to a cocktail party at Jeffrey Epstein's home," said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman. "It is not necessarily naming people who have engaged in actions that were anything like the deplorable actions of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell."

One of the documents released Thursday includes a lengthy list of names of people Giuffre's attorneys wanted to depose in her lawsuit against Maxwell.

The documents released by the court mention some well-known figures whose contacts with Epstein have been reported in the past, such as Britain's Prince Andrew . The prince settled a lawsuit in 2022 with Virginia Giuffre, who accused him and Epstein of abusing her as a teen, an accusation Andrew denied. In a court filing at the time, his attorneys said, "Prince Andrew regrets his association with Epstein, and commends the bravery of Ms. Giuffre and other survivors in standing up for themselves and others."

A deposition from Johanna Sjoberg in the suit includes previous accusations alleging she was groped by Prince Andrew in 2001, when she was 21. BBC News reports Buckingham Palace previously called her allegations "categorically untrue." The newly released documents include questions to Maxwell about Sjoberg.

Bill Clinton, also among the people whose names appear in the documents, had allegedly been described by Epstein as "a good friend," one Epstein accuser recounted in 2019. The former president's name had also appeared on manifests for the private jet, on which he said he had taken four trips "in connection with the work of the Clinton Foundation." He has not been accused of wrongdoing. A spokesperson told CBS News it's been nearly 20 years since Clinton last had contact with Epstein, and referred CBS News to a 2019 statement denying Clinton had any knowledge of what he called Epstein's "terrible crimes." 

Clinton's name also came up in Sjoberg's deposition. She did not accuse him of any wrongdoing, but said that Epstein told her "one time that Clinton likes them young, referring to girls."

In another of the documents, Maxwell testifies that Clinton never had a meal on Epstein's island and that she does not know how many times Clinton flew on Epstein's plane. 

In the filing, Maxwell's team attempts to debunk an article by journalist Sharon Churcher of the Daily Mail, who described a dinner on Epstein's Little St. James island allegedly attended by Clinton "shortly after he left office." Maxwell's team claims, "Former FBI Director Louis Freeh submitted a report wherein he concluded that President Clinton 'did not, in fact travel to, nor was he present on, Little St. James Island between January 1, 2001 and January 1, 2003'," and goes on to say Secret Service assigned to the former president would have been required to file travel logs.

Also named in the documents is Sarah Kellen, a former Epstein employee who has been accused by one adult victim of knowingly scheduling her flights and appointments with the financier and Maxwell.

Kellen's spokesperson had said in a 2020 statement to CBS News that Kellen scheduled those appointments at the direction of Epstein and Maxwell, and was herself "sexually" and "psychologically" abused by Epstein "for years." The statement noted Kellen "deeply regrets that she had any part in it."

What happened in the Jeffrey Epstein case?

Epstein was accused of sexually assaulting numerous teenage girls, some of them as young as 14 years old, according to prosecutors. Over many years, he allegedly exploited a vast network of underage girls for sex at his homes in Manhattan ; Palm Beach, Florida; and his private island near St. Thomas.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to charges brought in 2019 by federal prosecutors in New York of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking with underage girls. His death in prison before facing trial was ruled a suicide .

Epstein had cut a deal with federal prosecutors in Florida in 2008, reaching a non-prosecution agreement on allegations he sexually abused underage girls, in return for pleading guilty to lesser state charges and serving 13 months in jail, much of the time on work release. He also had to pay settlements to victims and register as a sex offender. 

That agreement, which had not been disclosed to his victims, was under investigation at the time of his death .

Among the documents released Thursday is a 2016 deposition from Joseph Recarey, a former detective with the Palm Beach Police Department who led the investigation into allegations against Epstein of sex abuse and trafficking that culminated in the 2008 plea deal. 

In the deposition, Recarey states that he interviewed around 30 girls who were either asked to or gave massages at Epstein's home. 

"When they went to perform a massage, it was for sexual gratification," Recarey testified. And of the 30-33 young women he interviewed, he said, only one, whom he described as "older," had massage experience, and "the majority were under" 18. Some told him they were recruited with the prospect of becoming a model for Victoria's Secret, Recarey said. He also said the young women told him they were offered money to recruit more girls. The 18-page released deposition has large gaps where pages were not included.

Who else's names are among those released in the Epstein-related documents?

A name's inclusion in the documents does not indicate the person has committed or has been accused of any wrongdoing. In addition, some of the people whose names appear are witnesses who were staff members, provided medical care or were in law enforcement, for example.

  • Juan Alessi and Alfredo Rodriguez : Alessi , a longtime manager of Epstein's Palm Beach estate, and Rodriguez, his former butler who died in 2015, are both named in the documents as having offered testimony.
  • Jean-Luc Brunel : A onetime close friend of Epstein, Brunel was found dead in a French jail in 2022 while being investigated by that country's authorities. He was accused of helping procure women and underage girls for Epstein and was also alleged to have raped and assaulted women he knew from the modeling world. In the documents, one witness mentioned in a deposition asking him for a job, and several others were asked about him.
  • Bill Richardson: The former governor of New Mexico, Richardson died in September. He had been previously reported to have visited Epstein's sprawling Zorro Ranch in New Mexico at least once. Richardson denied accusations made by Giuffre, who in a previously unsealed deposition said that she was directed to have sex with him. He called the accusation "completely false" and said he had never met Giuffre.
  • David Copperfield: In her deposition, Johanna Sjoberg said she had dinner with magician David Copperfield at Epstein's home. Copperfield is not accused of any wrongdoing. Sjoberg said Copperfield asked her "if I was aware that girls were getting paid to find other girls," but testified he told her no specifics about that.
  • Donald Trump : A witness said in a deposition that Epstein mentioned calling Trump and said the group would go to his casino when a storm forced his jet to land in Atlantic City during a 2001 trip. The witness was asked if she gave Trump a massage, but said no. Newsweek reported a Trump spokesperson said claims regarding Trump's relationship with Epstein were "thoroughly debunked." Trump said in 2018 that he knew Epstein "like everybody in Palm Beach knew him. … He was a fixture in Palm Beach." Trump said at the time, "I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don't think I've spoken to him for 15 years. I wasn't a fan." 
  • Alan Dershowitz : Attorney Alan Dershowitz defended Epstein in the 2008 criminal case . In one of the documents, lawyers discuss sworn testimony by two household employees, one of whom said Dershowitz visited Epstein's Florida mansion "pretty often" and allegedly got massages while he was there. According to the court document, the other employee testified Dershowitz visited Epstein's home without his family when young girls were present. Dershowitz has previously denied wrongdoing. Ahead of the documents' release, Dershowitz warned against inferring anything about their contents in a livestream on his personal YouTube channel Tuesday, saying "the important thing is not to assume guilt by association or guilt by accusation." He said in the half-hour livestream that, as Epstein's lawyer, he had been on the plane many times and he had been to the island once, with his wife and daughter, when no young people were present.
  • Michael Jackson : In a deposition released Jan. 3, Sjoberg is asked if she's met anyone famous when she was with Epstein, and she said she met Michael Jackson at Epstein's house in Palm Beach. She said she did not give him a massage and did not accuse him of any wrongdoing.
  • Ghislaine Maxwell
  • Jeffrey Epstein

Cara Tabachnick is a news editor and journalist at CBSNews.com. Cara began her career on the crime beat at Newsday. She has written for Marie Claire, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. She reports on justice and human rights issues. Contact her at [email protected]

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