Useful cover letter phrases while applying for a position

by Una Dabiero.

Like working on a resume, writing a cover letter is one of the most frustrating parts of the job search. It requires not only strict attention to detail but an undeterred focus on selling yourself to someone you’ve likely never met before  — in about 250 words.

If you’re going through a hefty job hunt, you’re probably churning out letter after letter, which, even for people who like writing about themselves, gets boring.

Unfortunately, repetition and boredom often cause us to lean on some pretty outrageous language in our job applications.

These seven phrases are commonly used in cover letters — even if everyone in HR hates them — because they’re just such great fillers. If you’ve got any in your writing, it’s time to get rid of them.

1. “I think…”

If you’re writing something in a letter, it’s obvious it’s what you think. This phrase weakens your language and makes you sound like you lack confidence, something you definitely don’t want to project to a hiring manager. Let your sentences stand-alone without this awkward introduction.

2. “As you can see on my resume…”

If certain information about you is available on your resume, anyone who reviews it is going to know that.

Instead of using this phrase, which is a bit condescending and more than a bit unnecessary, just break down the experience or skills you’re recapping in a new way that’s more conversational and appropriate for a letter format.

Rather than write “As you can see on my resume, I have five years of experience as a sales manager,” say: “I’ve worked as a sales manager for five years.” This gives you more space to share the amazing skills you learned and the projects you managed.

3. “I’m writing to apply…”

If you’re sending a cover letter, it’s obvious you’re applying to a job. Instead of using this cringeworthy phrase to introduce the job you’re interested in, fit the position title into the thesis of your argument.

Rather than write “I’m writing to apply for the customer success manager position,”

say: “My five years of experience as a customer success representative, along with my project management certification, makes me an excellent candidate for the customer success manager role.”

4. “Thinking outside the box”

This is the cover letter cliche to end all other cover letter cliches.

Everyone and their brother says one of their skills is “thinking outside the box” or being innovative in some way, shape or form. Rather than use this very general, kind f jargon-y phrase to describe yourself — and providing zero value to the hiring team in the process —  describe the truly innovative work you’ve done in your position.

This article was modified for our readership from the original at

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