One Letter Can Weaken Your Cover Letter

Jessica H. Hernandez
5 min readAug 13, 2022

Your application to a job is supposed to be all about you and your strengths, right? It’s the one time that it’s okay to brag — in fact, bragging is encouraged. That’s right, but only to an extent. You also need to show, especially in your cover letter, why your skills and accomplishments are beneficial to the company you’re applying for.

As you write your cover letter, it’s easy to fall into the trap of using the word “I” to begin every sentence. In doing, so, though, you are weakening your application, and without realizing it you’re telegraphing to a hiring manager that you might have trouble seeing the bigger picture outside of yourself and your immediate job.

So why and how do you fix the “I” problem? Let’s take a look.

Why Does “I” Weaken Cover Letters?

First of all, using “I” continuously weakens your writing. Many jobs do require some level of writing, and a hiring manager will be using your cover letter and resume to assess how strong of a writer you are. Even writing emails daily means that you will be using writing skills as a representative of the company, so you need to make a good first impression with your writing skills.

By using “I” over and over again, you indicate that your writing lacks complexity and that you might not have the vocabulary to keep up with writing memos and crafting impressive presentations. “I” is a fallback, and using it constantly and consecutively makes your writing repetitive and boring.

Beyond the writing skills component of “I” overuse, though, are some psychological components. First of all, by not taking the time to find a better way to write a sentence than by starting it with the same word over and over, you’re indicating that you might be lazy. The English language is enormous and offers plenty of opportunities for playing around and rephrasing. Revise, edit, and rewrite. Your cover letter is your first impression with a potential employer, after all.

Overuse of the word “I” can also just show your ego. While it may not be true that you have a large ego, and you might be an excellent team player, if the word “I” takes up a significant portion of your cover letter then you are sending a different message. This is why it’s particularly…

Jessica H. Hernandez

A nationally recognized and award-winning executive resume writer, Jessica H. Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast.