I’ve received thousands of cover letters in my fifteen years of helping to run start-ups and I’ve developed a radar that helps me gauge within the first few sentences of an email or cover letter whether its worth reading more. Generic introductions are the worst offense. Like when someone sends me an email directly (so they know who I am), but the intro says “Dear Hiring Manager”. I also once got an email recently that included this closing sentence “Please let me know if I qualify for any positions you currently have open or any positions you plan to have in the future”.
I see enough common-sense violations that I’m thinking of writing a post about them just to help drive some awareness for those who probably have genuine talent and ambition, but don’t realize their emails are preventing them from even getting in the door.
Every now and then, though, I see an example of creativity, originality and cleverness that restores my faith in people who get it. Here is an example of a recent cover letter I got from a job applicant:
Dear fellow aficionado of all things hip and creative:
Let’s not be facetious. There are certain truths in this world that cannot be held in disdain. Black cannot compete without white. Women cannot procreate without men. Road Runner cannot flee without Wile E. Coyote. Lindsay Lohan cannot go to prison without cocaine/shop-lifting. Staggering, right? Well, I would argue that BlogFrog cannot garner the same future success without my aid.
You need someone who has a creative, entrepreneurial mindset. Well, as a contributing founder of several startups, I love the spirited culture that they bring. You need someone who keeps a blog. Well, I’ve penned a number of blogs with my advertising and PR consulting for firms across the country. My 2011 resolution was to finally keep my own, and I’m having a blast. You need someone who is familiar with BlogFrog communities. Well, as a proud member, I’ll be now employing its prowess in the real estate blog that I manage.
You need someone with a strong background in marketing, advertising, and digital media fundamentals. Well, I have an internationallybased BSBA and MBA with a focus in marketing from the University of Denver. I’ve also been a contributing member to the development of online marketing/advertising practices for six years. As an emerging social media guru, I know how to effectively plan and execute a multitude of digital media strategies. You need someone with excellent written and oral presentation skills. Well, read my blog, and have me in for an interview. You need someone who is detail-oriented. Well, my underwear drawer is sorted by color and pattern. TMI? You need someone who can manage remote teams and projects. Well, as I often work with projects and clients on Skype, I think I can handle this. Most importantly, you need me and I can start today.
I would frankly and humbly cherish the opportunity to continue my career at one of Colorado’s growing startups. I’m an avid learner, and I am always ready to for a new challenge. In all sincere modesty, you won’t find anyone who will add more value to the BlogFrog team than myself.
Now, is it a little overly-confident and even hints at self-absorption? Possibly. Maybe he writes great cover letters and that’s where the talent ends. But I give him huge credit for stepping out, showing his confidence, and being willing to take a risk with his wit (not everyone shares the same sense of humor) and personality. That will get my attention faster than someone who tries to be too generic and doesn’t even make it to the small stack.
So how did it all work out? We have phone interview today so I’ll let you know