Plunk down either of the following two sentences in your cover letter or resume—sentiments that I have unfortunately come across too many times—and I would bet that your odds of getting called in for an interview are near-zero. (Not to mention, these sentences top the list of “most generic” resume and cover-letter phrases.)

  1. “I am open to other opportunities within your company.” Uh…no, you’re not! You assume that being seen as a jack-of-all-trades will help make you appear a more attractive candidate, but the reason most employers are reading your application in the first place is because they are looking for that special someone whose singular background will make a perfect fit for the position they’re offering. By stating, especially at this early stage of the game, that you would consider other positions, you will be seen as acknowledging a less-than-perfect fit. Or worse, that you don’t really give two flying figs about the job you’re applying to. Net-net, you are presenting to your potential employer a fickle, perhaps irresponsible, character—and that’s obviously not someone any employer wants to hire.
  2. “I’m looking for a career at your company that offers excitement and growth potential.” If you want to be excited about your work, then be excited. Introduce new ideas; try new things; bring yourself a triple-decker sandwich for lunch…but don’t look to your next employer to create excitement for you. That would be your responsibility–not the employer’s. Put pressure on your next boss to “make you happy” in your job and they will sooner find someone who’s happy just to have a job at all!