One of my recruiter friends sent me the following cover letter she received with a recent CV submission. Knowing my approach to such things, she thought I would like to have it as a teaching tool… Here it is, in its entirety:
Dear Sir or Madam:
At this time, I am seeking a challenging position with an organization such as yours. I believe strongly that my professional experience and skill sets are an excellent fit with your company objectives.
As you will certainly agree after reading my resume, which is attached for your consideration, I possess all the attributes and abilities that you are seeking in an ideal candidate.
To further discuss how I can become a productive member of your team, please feel free to contact me at your convenience via telephone or email.
I look forward to your favorable response and thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
Before I get into why this is a shining example of what not to do, I would like to point out that this is so vanilla and vague, I didn’t have to change anything to protect anyone’s identity. Other than deleting the name, of course.
I also want to say that I am in no way mocking this person who wrote this…This type of cover letter is a product of being taught wrong, and following conventional wisdom…I am not saying the person who wrote this was dumb.
So what’s actually wrong with this, you ask?
Getting back to my first point, it gives no (and I mean ZERO ) indication of the skills or experience the job seeker has. Reading this doesn’t tell me if the job seeker is an experienced researcher, or someone in a fellowship, or anything else. I will make this point often – you HAVE to spell out for people EXACTLY what you do right away, because hiring authorities and recruiters will not take the time to figure it out.
Worse yet, the letter shows no indication that the job seeker has researched the company, or the person they wrote the letter to. Companies and the people who hire for them do not like lazy applicants, so don’t be one.
The big issue is, this letter is nothing more than a sales pitch… it says, “I’m great, trust me” with no justification for doing so, and it does nothing to position this person as someone who merits a return phone call regarding an opportunity.
The letter also violates one of our rules of job search, and that rule is “don’t be boring, be interesting”…note this part:
“As you will certainly agree after reading my resume, which is attached for your consideration, I possess all the attributes and abilities that you are seeking in an ideal candidate”
It’s not that hard to write one or two things that might JUSTIFY a hiring authority taking the time to read the CV, so make sure you do it…This just comes off as self promotional blather…just like the fifty CV’s they received before lunch.
Lastly, note the part where it says:
“To further discuss how I can become a productive member of your team, please feel free to contact me at your convenience via telephone or email”
These examples are why job searches can drag on for an eternity…It is the job seekers responsibility to quickly and succinctly communicate how they can be a productive team member. Expecting the hiring authority to do the heavy lifting for you is a quick way to end up in the reject pile.
Whenever you communicate with someone who can hire you, MAKE SURE they know right away what you do, MAKE SURE you demonstrate that you know something about them, and if you are responding to a job ad, PLEASE MAKE SURE that you spell out how your experience fits what they are looking for.
Job searches are work…get over it. Everything you write and say needs to be tailored to the situation at hand. In future posts, we’ll talk about effective ways to structure a cover letter, and better ways to market yourself to a lot of companies at once, but for now, I wanted to give you the philosophical basis for the teachings to come.
Until next time,
Thomas Patrick Chuna is a certified Five O’Clock Club job search coach. The Five O’Clock Club is a nationally recognized outplacement firm with a proven job search methodology that helps job seekers get better jobs faster.
Tom is also an experienced independent recruiter specializing in molecular oncology research scientists & MD’s.
Learn more: http://www.fiveoclockclub.com http://www.patrick-international.net