Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why must you make me mock you?

My boss had me write a Craigslist ad for a new hire and screen the responses and oh, what an unexpected pleasure this is turning out to be.

This one is killing me:
I am a Loyal employee who is Dependable and Responsible period. My Time is very Valuable to me, which is to say that I am usually Early, if not On Time. I Learn Quick in order to deal with the situation at hand as to Adapt to the environment I'm in, when taught well I do well. I take Pride in whatever it is that I do, and tend to perfect it to its highest degree whenever possible. I work to obtain my goals, because reaching them is how you Measure Success. What you need to know about me is simple, I Take Care of Business and Listening is the First Rule. I tend to Write well and keeping things Organized seems to come Naturally to me.
I call him The Natural.

Then there's this:
The last year I spent on active duty and the three following years working in an architect's office were spent full time developing design and construction documents.
So in the future?

Then there's "this isn't my first choice but...":
I would like to start my career doing Landscape Design since I hold the MLA, but considering the economy and how most architecture was stalled out, I'd really like an opprotunity to [redacted] more!
Go figure that his "objective" is to:
secure employment in the Washington DC or Northern Virginia area and apply myself in a professional manner utilizing my education and skills to benefit the organization I work for.
Specific! And personal!

Let this be a lesson to you, job seekers! But now, I have a question. (Any HR managers in the house?) I have always written thoughtful and detailed cover letters, tailored to the position I was applying for, 3-5 paragraphs in a Word document and attached to the e-mail. I have a dozen or so applications here already, and of those who bothered with a cover letter at all, they are all just a brief few lines in the body of the e-mail. Have I been doing it wrong? Have I been burdening hiring managers with the inconvenience of having to click to open another document, and then read through a full page of text? Please advise. 

I received my first cover letter as an attachment! With great trepidation I opened it to read...
Dear Sir/Madam,

Enclosed is my resume for the “[redacted]” position.

I would like to thank you in advance for your time and consideration in reviewing my credentials.  I look forward to discussing with you any opportunities for possible employment.

[not a wordy person]

I just...I don't get it.


  1. For applications in which I am required to attach my resume to an email, I tend to make the cover letter the body of the email, rather than add it as an extra attachment. Like you, I tend to write 3-5 paragraphs. Of course, I haven't had much success using this approach.

  2. Unexpected? Really? Craigslist. Enough said.

  3. I do exactly what The Silver Cage does. The email itself *is* my cover letter. The resume is the only attachment.

    PS. Those responses are BRILLIANT. As in: brilliantly funny.

  4. When doing online applications that ask you to upload a resume, most of the time I combine my cover letter and my resume into a single pdf. When applying through email, I use the body as a formal cover letter and then just attach the resume. I also limit my cover letters to about 3 paragraphs. I read somewhere that HR looks at so many applications that a lengthy letter is actually not very effective. However, if I'm sending an application directly to someone in the company (not HR but maybe a person someone referred me to) then I spend a bit more time on my cover letter/email. I should add though, that I just had a third interview with a company today (*crosses fingers*) and I didn't even have a cover letter when I showed up at their job fair a couple weeks ago. So... yeah. Damn cover letters.

  5. It depends, over here the application process is usually quite rigid, and places are provided for you to expand on your skills, why you are applying, what you'll bring to the role etc - quite often applications are online so there is no opportunity for a cover letter, if submitting by email or on paper, I write a short letter thanking them for their consideration and saying I look forward to the opportunity of discussing the position with them.... so no, no cover letter - but if I was just sending in a CV, then yes, definitely!

  6. PS - I also really Love the guy who uses Capitals where he wants you to really Take Note of his buzz words. Excellent use of writing skills, Bravo!

  7. Indeed, that man's use of Capital Letters is Impressive. It seems like all of the weird applicants come from Craigslist. Also, the new fee thing there was surprising. I wonder if it will cut down more on the spam listings or the legitimate ones.

  8. I worked in human resources for a hospital some years ago. I imagine the 'rules' have changed - so I don't really know if there is a 'right' way to do a cover letter - or even a resume.

    But when I was in the field, what usually got a resume and cover letter passed on to a department head for further consideration and an interview: A clean, uncluttered writing style. Professional writing that still sounds honest and real (i.e., not too much 'business-speak'). A format that is clear and concise, so that key points can be picked up at a glance.

    3-5 paragraphs seems a little lengthy for a cover letter, unless they are 2-3 sentences each, written in a clear and concise style.

    You never, ever want to say that the job you're applying for 'isn't my first choice'.

    And you should always, always have a real-life person whose judgement you value and trust, proof-read your resume and cover letter. Spell-check and grammar-check can't differentiate between a professional-sounding text, and something that reads as 'total weirdo'.