College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Career Corner
Avoid Big Words When Writing a Cover Letter

Nate Rio -- It may seem counterintuitive, but if you're trying to impress the hiring manager, trying too hard to sound erudite when crafting your cover letter can actually work against you.

When it comes to writing a cover letter, many people first think that you should try to use intelligent sounding words in the content. However, it is actually better to use words from everyday language to address your skills and qualifications.

This seems counterintuitive to a lot of people because we feel like we need to impress the hiring manager in the HR department who is looking at our qualifications.

Consider this sample:

"I have utterly encapsulated the monotonous commissions in order for you to further discover the daunting rigors of my activities."

If the HR manager has a difficult time trying to understand what you are trying to say, or has to resort to a thesaurus to understand your content, you might as well consider that your resume and cover letter will be sent to the bottom of the pile.

You never want to sound like you are an English teacher in training. Most positions that you will be applying for, probably have some type of communication involved. If you are trying too hard to give example of your amazing communication skills by overly complicating the English language, you may be putting your chances of getting the interview at risk.

Consider this translation of the above quote:

I have completely summarized the tedious tasks in order for you to further understand the discouraging severity of my activities."

Now despite this being a detailed explanation, I avoided using these ridiculous words that only a college language professor would find amusing.

Here are some tips to use when writing a cover letter and how to avoid using big words:

-- The language should be similar to how you would speak to a friend.
-- In order to get an interview, the content should be short, sweet, and to the point!
-- While reading the letter aloud, you should sound natural.
-- Avoid using any tongue-twisting language.
-- After completing your letter, have a friend in your industry read it. If they cannot understand any of the words, you may want to adjust accordingly.

Another thing to keep in mind while writing a cover letter is to avoid using idioms that might come across as unprofessional. For example, you would not want to use the phrase "a drop in the bucket" when you are trying to convey that you were expecting a higher salary at a former job. Even though you may be trying to avoid big words, this may sound unprofessional.

Nate Rio is an expert on Resume writing and Cover Letters. Download your Free Guide "Top 10 Tips of the World's Greatest Cover Letter" at ExampleCoverLetters.org and read more on writing a resume.

© 2015 Nate Rio

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.