Jun920093:43 pm

This probably won’t get you an interview

I’m a proponent of well-crafted, solid, specific cover letters. This, which I received as a blind job inquiry, is not one of them:

Dear Hiring Manager:

If you could design the next team member for your organization, would the following meet your toughest requirements?

  • A [well-known university] educated attorney with a proven record of success at responsible levels,
  • A counsel with a gift for pulling together rock solid answers serving the most demanding clients so well, they use them with confidence…and remember who gave them the resulting advantages, and
  • A leader who helps people elevate compliance and regulation from being burdens to becoming tools that help them succeed.

You’ve just read the Readers’ Digest version of my resume. You’ll find the details on the next pages and my pledge of value—three value added capabilities you’ll see me demonstrate from day one—right at the top of the first page. Backing them up are over a half dozen examples of problems solved.

However, words on paper are no substitute for hearing more about your special needs and the mission essential 2009-2010 goals of the organization.

I look forward to speaking with you in person.

Sincerely,

Enthusiastic yet misguided job seeker

Tags:

Categories: The World at Work | Follow responses via RSS | Leave a response | Trackback

4 Responses to “This probably won’t get you an interview”

  1. G says:

    Can you be a little more specific about what it is you don’t like about this cover letter?

  2. Mark Overmann Mark Overmann says:

    G,

    My main problem with the letter is that it is generic and says nothing about why the applicant wants to work for us or why s/he would be a good fit for our organization. It makes me think that the applicant only views us as a means to an end (s/he needs a job, we might have one), rather than viewing our organization as a place s/he really want to be. This is why I rail against generic cover letters—they do nothing to endear you to the people who might be hiring you.

    My second problem is that the writing is poor. Consider this sentence: “A counsel with a gift for pulling together rock solid answers serving the most demanding clients so well, they use them with confidence…and remember who gave them the resulting advantages.” This is a very poorly written sentence, and after reading it several times, I’m still not sure I know what it means.

    And finally, I know that the applicant is trying to be clever in this “unique” approach to a cover letter, but to me it comes across as silly.

    I know all you need is one of these letters to stick and in going for the blanket, generic approach, this job applicant is hoping that at least one of the 100 sent out will get a positive response. But still, in my mind, crafting ten carefully written cover letters to ten organizations at which you really want to work is a far more effective use of your time than firing out 100 generic ones.

  3. [...] tips, many of which have been discussed here in some form (including, most recently, #7: the generic cover letter). Of particular [...]

Leave a Reply