What Not to Include: Engineering Cover Letters

Careers Advice
10 July 2015 | Careers Advice | thomas thomas

There are ways of writing a good, solid, well thought out cover letter, and there are ways of writing them badly. We here at Engineer Jobs are going to tell you what NOT to include in an engineering cover letter. While some of these tips may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised how many people miss them out when writing a cover letter. In case you missed it, we wrote an article (and provided a sample with annotations) about what to include in an engineering cover letter which you can find at our career advice section.

1. Don’t Mention What You Cannot Do – You’re an Engineer, You Adapt!

As an engineer, you have an incredible amount of industries to step into, many of which may overlap at times. Putting things like “Though I may not have the skills to…” in your cover letter isn’t going to impress Jaguar Land Rover. You want to look desirable to potential employers, and advertising you don’t have the skills for something won’t bode well for you when an employer is looking for someone who DOES have a set of skills, even if it is admirable that you’re being honest. Its pointless talking about something you don’t have. Instead, talk about skills you do have which are transferrable to the type of engineering it is.

2. Don’t Repeat Your CV – That’s what Your CV is for!

It’s not worth repeating your CV on the cover letter, because in most cases, a cover letter is used almost as an extension of the CV. The purpose of a cover letter is to expand on the information presented in the CV, to explain certain job roles or employment gaps. Ideally, you want to be able to sell yourself in as few paragraphs as possible, and repeating what your daily routine for work experience isn’t going to help.

3. Don’t Be Too Arrogant

Confidence is good, but too much confidence doesn’t translate well on paper as it can come off as too cocky. It’s fine talking about your merits and qualification you may have gained during your summer placement at Qinetiq, but don’t overdo it. Talk about the role’s requirements and how your skills are a good match. If you think you’re perfect for the job, great; you can talk about the skills you learned during summer that will support this potential role.

4. Don’t Burn Your Bridges

This one is a universal no-no. If you left your old job because of a disagreement with your boss or left because of the way the company was working, it doesn’t need to be explained in your cover letter. If the potential employer needs a reference, they’ll more than likely get in touch with your old employer, meaning if the bad-mouthing you put in your cover letter is lucky enough to be overlooked; it can get back to your previous employer.

…and the rest

These are the quick tips we had to include as general don’ts when writing a cover letter. While these can still be transferred to engineer cover letters, these are points we recommend you don’t miss out on when writing a cover letter.

  • If you’re sending the cover letter via email, make sure the email address is professional-looking and isn’t one you made up when you were in college
  • Don’t talk about other jobs you’ve applied to
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes – always proofread
  • Not doing your research about the company and what they do
  • Being too informal

More to Read

You can find more engineer jobs help at our career advice section, which includes an example of an engineer cover letter as well as resources on how to find the right engineer career for you.

Please Share: