Writing a cover letter is one of the most difficult aspects of your job search in Australia. Each job you apply for requires its own cover letter, which must sell you to someone you’ve never met.  All this needs to take place in 250 words or less. When you are repeating this process over and over, it can often get boring and can lead you to add in some new words to spice things up. This means that choosing the right cover letter phrases is key!

Unfortunately, whenever you add in words just to spice things up in your cover letter, it can ruin the way the letter sells you to the employer.

Here are the seven phrases to avoid putting on your cover letter at all costs.

1. “I think…”

Anything that is in text on your cover letter is what you think. The phrase “I think” is only for speech or prose and should be avoided at all costs in any sort of business writing context.

It is a phrase that drastically weakens your language and will make you sound like you’re someone who lacks confidence, which is a sign to hiring managers that they should avoid you. Make sure you avoid this phrase at all costs.

2. “As you can see from my resume, …”

This condescending phrase suggests to the employer that they should read your resume to understand more about you – which is not what the cover letter is for. Instead the cover letter should entice the employer to find out more about you.

You should be writing out a snapshot of your experience in place of this phrase to give the employer an idea of the value you could bring to their company. For example, instead of “As you can see from my resume, I have three years of experience as a sales manager.” You should write, “I’ve worked as a sales manager for three years.”

3. “I’m writing to apply…”

If you’re sending a cover letter to an employer, it’s obvious to them that you’re applying to a job.

Avoid statements like, “I’m writing to apply for the deskside technician position.” Instead, write out statements that sell your value, such as: “My five years of experience as a service desk officer, along with my bachelor’s degree in Information Systems, makes me an excellent candidate for the deskside technician role.”

4. “Thinking outside the box”

“Thinking outside the box” are one of those popular cliché cover letter phrases that job seekers will use to spice up their cover letter. It is another way of suggesting to an employer that you are innovative. But it doesn’t do you any favours because it doesn’t show how you are innovative.

Rather than use this phrase to describe your cleverness, describe the innovative work you’ve done in a past position, such as for example an initiative that you launched or the creative solutions you came up with to tackle a complex challenge.

5. “Excellent communication skills”

Never ever tell people that you have excellent communication skills, especially if it is not evident in the way you communicate your value through your cover letter and resume. Instead of using this phrase, you should always list the skillset you have around communication, especially if the job you are applying for mentions a need for communication skills in the job description.

6. “My name is…”

Your cover letter should be formatted like a letter, which will include your full name in the header and in the signature. Thus, you don’t need to repeat your name in the body of the letter, which would only take up unnecessary space in the introduction. Instead, use that space to provide information the employer would actually want to read.

7.  “Perfect fit”

No one can know if they are a perfect fit for a company they have never worked in before. It’s presumptuous to mention such a thing in your cover letter and must be avoided at all costs.

You will be able to sell whether you’re a good fit for the company in the interview process by selling your value and personality to the hiring team. They will decide whether you are the right fit for the company.

So, rather than describe yourself in your cover letter as a perfect fit, explain how your experience makes you qualified for the role.

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So when looking at what cover letter phrases you should and should not use, keep the above seven in mind.

At CSA – Career Success Australia, we work closely with you to make sure your personal brand and resume is perfect.


Contact us today – and start preparing for a career in Australia.


Careers Team @ CSA!