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11 Things You Say in Your Cover Letter (& What You Really Mean)

Looking for a job or internship is never easy, but perhaps the worst part is writing the cover letter that will land you an interview. Feeling desperate? Cocky? Underqualified? Whatever the case, just once, you should be able to say what you’re really thinking while writing a million cover letters in the hopes of finding the perfect job. 

1. What you say: “To Whom it May Concern” 

What you really mean: I don’t know your actual name, but I’m pretty sure this is how adults communicate, right?

2. What you say: My name is [Insert Name Here] and I am an [Insert Lengthiest Name For Your Major Here] at [Insert University.]

What you really mean: This is where I introduce myself, right? I need to sound smart. Maybe I should add a minor? Another major? Forget it, I need my PhD before I can send out any more cover letters. 

3. What you say: “I am a diligent worker and I always stay on task.”

What you really mean: I heard that the word ‘diligent’ makes me look smart. And I pretty much stay on task. Like 99 percent of the time. Okay, 50 percent. Depends if I can access Netflix.

4. What you say: “I have extensive experience using Excel.”

What you really mean: I made a spreadsheet once. Please, don’t make me do it again. 

5. What you say: “I am great with deadlines and never fail to perform any task asked of me. “

What you really mean: I will stay up all night and be miserable, but I’ll never let you fire me. 

6. What you say: “I believe that my passion and drive qualify me for this position.”

What you really mean: I am not qualified, at all, but I am passionate about getting a job. 

7. What you say: “I have been dreaming about a job in [insert job market here] since I was just a little girl.”

What you really mean: I’ve been dreaming about this job ever since I realized that a career as a professional world traveler and wine enthusiast wasn’t as lucrative as I thought it was. 

8. What you say: “My degree has prepared me for anything that may come my way.”

What you really mean: I learned how to nap in college. Can I nap at this job?

9. What you say: “[Insert extremely specific fact about prospective job] is what drives me to work for your company.”

What you really mean: [I found this on your website] and I know it makes me look like I know what I’m talking about. 

10. What you say: “Thank you for your consideration.”

What you really mean: Please consider me. Please? 

11. What you say: “Sincerely.”

What you really mean: This makes me seem sincere. Not too sincere, right? Just the right amount of sincere. Like, the kind of sincere that will make you take pity on me and hire me.

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Andrea Wurzburger

South Carolina

Andrea is a senior at the University of South Carolina and a contributing writer for Her Campus. She is majoring in Being Awesome with a minor in Loving Life and an emphasis in Moscato. Her hobbies include reading, dreaming about traveling, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and over-thinking. You can follow her on Twitter (@a_wurzburger) and Instagram (@andreawurzburger).