Monday, December 12, 2011

Lets Cover The Cover Letter, Shall We?

So I have been getting loads of requests to touch on the topic of cover letters.  Well maybe I haven’t been getting loads, but definitely handfuls of requests.  Ok, I haven’t gotten any, but I still want to write about it, so listen up.

Cover letters can make or break your chances of getting your foot in the door at a company, even if it is only for an interview.  At this point in your career path, you most likely have little to no real professional experience.  You have made your resume look as good as it’s going to get.  And let’s be honest, it still looks like shit.  Those lame graphics you have hanging around the corners of it aren’t going to save the fact that your professional career consists of a restaurant job, a couple manual labor summer jobs, and a weird warehouse job that somehow only lasted one month.  Oh, and if you’re wondering, that two-week period you spent cleaning out your pack rat of a grandmother’s garage doesn’t count as community service.  I’m not saying much, but what I am telling you is that your resume is toilet paper.  Ok? Ok.  Moving on.

So that leaves the cover letter.  Yes, that godforsaken three paragraph long BS about your life up to this point and how you are just picture perfect for the open position as a blah blah blah, whatever.  If you are like me, you are completely sick and tired of trying to write a new cover letter for every not job you are going for.  I also hope you are like me if the fact that you still put forth the effort to write a top notch cover letter every time you find yourself applying for a job.  Listen, cause this shit is important.  Your cover letter is most likely the first thing a prospective employer is going to look at so make it badass.  Make those words jump off the page and down that bastard’s throat.  Make his or her eyes cry with tears of amazement at your accomplishments.  Make them fear the consequences of not hiring you.  Anyway, you get the idea.  Here are a few tips to take your cover letter to the next level.  Hot damn, here we go.


Yes, this is completely obvious.  However, you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I have written a cover letter, sent the damn thing, and then looked through it only to find misspellings and overused words (“simply” being one of my notoriously frequent words).  Honestly, this is probably the biggest issue with cover letters.  You have taken the time to write something you think an employer would want to read, so take the extra five minutes to comb through that beast and correct any errors.  Heck, even read it aloud.  Nuff said about that.

Consider Your Audience:

If you were writing a cover letter for a job as a comedian, you would try to be funny right?  Well the same thing applies to every other career out there.  If you are applying for a job somewhere along the creative spectrum, try to be creative as possible.  Now creativity is all about you so I won’t go into too much detail, but remember you have to stand out.  On the flipside, if you are applying for something that requires you to pay acute attention to detail, let your cover letter become an example of your ability to pay attention to those details.  Basically what I am trying to say is that every cover letter should have a voice of its own, so no cookie cutter, all inclusive and generalized letters that use big, hyphenated words like “hard-working” or “well-liked”.  These people are probably looking at hundreds of cover letters each day, so make yours better than everyone else’s.

The Closing:

There isn’t much to say about this.  However, your cover letter needs to make it seem like you are a considerate person, even if you are total shit sack. You need to create the illusion that you have that particular company’s best interests in mind.  Make sure you thank them for taking the time out of their salary-filled day to read your pathetic little letter.  Heck, thank them for even considering it.  Also, make sure you sound eager to hear back from them, but try not to sound like the desperate fool you are.  Here is an example of a decent closing:

“I hope we can speak further in the near future about this possible opportunity.  Thank you for your time and consideration.


Burt Reynolds”

This is only an example.  Find one that works for you.

If All Else Fails:

If all else fails, just go all out.  Write the most ridiculous cover letter you can think of.  Lie.  Lie so much that it is obvious you cannot have possibly achieved so much in your short life.  Make sure those chumps know what’s coming when they hire you.  Demand an interview.  Do anything you like.  If you actually want the job, I would refrain from cursing at the employer.  Also, assuming you don’t want the cops at your doorstep, no threats.  Still, just go for it.  Cause in the end, what does it matter?  There are a million jobs out there.  Maybe they aren’t in your town, city, state, or country, but they are out there.  It’s up to you to write a few kick ass cover letters and show those stick in the muds that our generation is ready to start taking over the world.  Right place at the right time.  That’s all it takes.  I’m done.

Disclaimer:  I have used all of these aforementioned tactics, and I am still unemployed.  However, I have landed some really good interviews with them.  That means either A: The bastards hate me, or 2: I just haven’t really nailed it yet.  Either way, use these tips at your own risk.

Written By: Adam E. Hascall

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