Some random thoughts from hiring work recently, in no particular order:
* Do not start your cover letter with “My name is…” unless you are under the age of 10. This does not make you sound like a grown-up.
* When a job posting asks for something like 2-3 years experience and you have 10+ years of experience, you need to address that in your cover letter. That employer is telling you clearly that they’re envisioning someone more junior in their career than you are, and your chances of being considered will go up dramatically if you explain why you’re interested anyway and why you’d excel in the job. You might think that this is obvious (and that clearly more knowledge and more experience will help you do a better job), but if you don’t explicitly address it, they will assume that you didn’t read the job posting clearly, that you’ll be bored in the role, or that you’re going to try to turn the role into something other than what they need, and they will pass you up.
* Stop writing “Salary is negotiable” when the recipient of your letter never even asked you about salary.
* Do not send a resume with no dates of employment on it. I’ve seen a handful of candidates doing this recently, and someone out there must be telling them that this is a good thing to do (probably to avoid age discrimination, is my guess). This makes it look like you’re trying to hide something, and it’s incredibly unhelpful — I want to know how recent your experience was and how long you did it for. Holding a job for 10 months nine years ago is very different from having done it for five years very recently. (And if it is being done to avoid revealing your age, you have now done the opposite, by highlighting weirdness about your age.)
* Speaking of dates, if there are jobs from the 1970s on your resume, it’s time to take them off. Unless that’s the decade you spent as a cabinet official or something, it’s really not relevant to your candidacy at this point.