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Ready for some bad job seeking advice.

The challenge of writing a powerful cover letter can lead job candidates to search endlessly for advice, but be careful. While you likely will find some nuggets of wisdom, you may stumble upon a few cover-letter tips that could lead you astray, cautions professional staffing service Robert Half, Menlo Park, Calif.

Here are three often-repeated cover letter tips that you definitely should not take:

* "You need a lengthy cover letter." This probably is one of the most frequent offenders on the list of "bad cover letter tips." Think about it: hiring managers have stacks of resumes and cover letters to review. If yours is longer than the rest or excessively wordy, it might not get read at all. Aim to get all of your points across in three brief paragraphs: a clear introduction that lets employers know which job you are applying for and why you are interested in the position; a paragraph that includes a few specific examples of how you have excelled in past roles that are relevant to the open position; and a concluding paragraph that tells employers how you will benefit their company and requests a future meeting.

* "Your cover letter is less important than your resume." First, an ugly truth: Some hiring managers shove cover letters to the side, but most do not. Because you never know what type of hiring manager you are dealing with, it is best to err on the side of caution and submit a stellar cover letter. While some employers place less emphasis on cover letters, others decide who to interview based on them. Remember that the point of a cover letter is to tell employers something that makes them want to meet you, not to merely rehash your resume.

* "You need to cram in as many keywords as possible." It is true that you should include keyword phrases used in the job posting, but do not overdo it. Hiring managers are clued in to this trick. Including too many keywords--also known as "keyword stuffing"--can give employers the impression that you are trying to take advantage of the system, especially if they use software that sorts applications based on keywords. Also, keyword stuffing makes your cover letter sound forced and unnatural.

In addition to avoiding these faulty cover letter tips, diligently proofread your cover letter. You also need to reread the job posting to make sure you have included all the requested information, such as salary requirements or your available starting date. Failing to follow directions is a major red flag for employers.

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Title Annotation:YOUR LIFE
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2015
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