En Route: A Career Blog

How to Write a Truly Awful Cover Letter

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY:
POSTED: June 28, 2013 at 9:40 am

Caught this video recently. It made me smile. The presenter provides tongue-in-cheek advice about what you absolutely should do when writing a cover letter if you absolutely do not want to be called in for an interview.

His points are well taken. I’ll provide my commentary on each (sarcasm intended).

Ignore ALL instructions when applying

If the company requests that you put salary history in your cover letter, don’t bother. Make them guess. Surely, they won’t move on to the candidate who actually follows their request. If they ask that you put the job number in your cover letter (because they are posting for several positions), simply ignore them. Maybe they’ll believe you’re qualified for every opening!

Don’t worry about minimum requirements for the position

They need someone who can type and you can’t? Tell them that’s okay, you’re willing to learn. On their dime. They want someone with at least three years of experience and you have six months? No problem. They’ll see how stellar you’ve performed in that very very short period of time and will ignore all other candidates who meet or exceed their requirements.

Make absolutely certain you have spelling errors and grammatical errors

After all, hiring managers don’t want to hire professionals who’ll make their company proud. They want the general public to think that their staff is either lazy or uneducated. Perhaps both. It’s a winning formula to beat the competition.

Forget to customize your cover letter

You have 15 letters to send out. The first is addressed to Ms. Dickerson at ABC Company. Make certain that Ms. Dickerson’s name and her company’s name is on all 15 letters. When Mr. Franklin or Ms. Tolbert get their letters, they’ll know that you meant to address it to them.

Use ‘To Whom It May Concern’ as your salutation

Everyone loves to get letters that are essentially addressed to ‘Dear Occupant’. Makes them feel special. Convinces them that you took absolutely no time to research their company and find out who works in HR or any other department. That lack of initiative is what every company is hoping for.

Make certain you use your current company’s letterhead for your cover letter

That proves you work there, right? No hiring manager or recruiter in their right mind would think that’s unprofessional, not to mention illegal, considering you’re using the company’s resources for your own benefit.

Claim you’re perfect for the job

You’ve never worked at the company. You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. You’ve simply read a 300 word posting. But you’re perfect for the position. Sure, they’ll believe you.

Forget to put your name, address, email and phone number on your cover letter

If it gets separated from your resume (not that that ever happens), the hiring manager will have no idea how to locate you. Of course, he (or she) will search for days trying to match your letter to the remaining resumes, because you’re so special.

Attach a personal photo

Especially casual shots taken at the beach or at a beer party. You’re good looking, so why not? Don’t worry that no hiring manager will call you in for an interview because of legal concerns, including the possibility of discrimination claims.

Write a LONG letter

Not a few pithy paragraphs that get to the point and get the job done. Make it two, three or more pages and ramble on and on and on. Hiring managers have nothing but time. Time they want to give to you.

You see how these very common – and avoidable mistakes – make hiring managers pull out their hair. Don’t fall into this trap. Be professional. Include a cover letter that proves you are.

ResumeEdge specializes in cover letters, resume writing, resume editing and LinkedIn profiles. Our certified writers have decades of experience in 40+ industries. They can craft a cover letter that will wow a hiring manager and compel that individual to read your resume.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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I was totally satisfied! My cover letter was perfect, no edits needed. I must say that I've never worked with a company that has been so professional and efficient. I am Australian and was a bit hesitant, as all countries do things differently, but I am so happy to have such a great resume and cover letter.

— Clayton R.
Hospitality and Tourism
New South Wales, Australia
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