To boost your odds of getting hired, here’s a list of phrases that should never appear on your cover letter. These come from Alison Green, who writes the career advice blog, Ask A Manager:

  • “Dear sir or madam.” Green says that greeting comes across like you’re applying for a job in the 18th century! So, if you know the hiring manager’s name, use that instead. Otherwise, just write “Dear hiring manager.”
  • “I meet the requirements for the position.” Well, of course you do. And so do the other 100 people who applied for the job! Green says cover letters are supposed to explain why you alone are the best person for the job, not show that you’re just like everyone else.
  • “I’m a hard worker,” “a great communicator,” and “a team player.” These are all clichés that don’t say anything special about you. Plus, hiring managers are the only ones who should decide if you’re a great team player. So, when you describe yourself that way, it sounds like bragging. Instead, say something specific like, “At my last company, my team raised profits 10 percent.”
  • “I’ve attached a list of references, and my last performance review.” Green says when you first apply for a job, the only things hiring managers want to see are your résumé and cover letter. Anything else will only overwhelm them. So, unless the job posting specifically asks for more, don’t send it.
  • “I’ll call you next week to schedule an interview.” Green says it’s not your place to decide when hiring managers will be free to talk to you! So, using that phrase will just make you sound pushy and annoying, and boost the odds that you won’t get the job.

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