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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

The Honest Cover Letter No One Will Ever Actually Send

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It’s that magical time of year when you’re filled with hope and optimism.

Anything is possible! From landing your dream job, to making more money, to refraining from creepily saying, “I saw you did that on Instagram!” when your co-worker tells you about her vacation.

You set out with all the ambition in the world. But then, you find yourself three weeks in—and by three weeks, I obviously mean three days—and starting to lose steam.

And when it comes to the job search, that’s exactly when you begin to worry that if you write one more “tailored” cover letter, it’ll sound like this:

To Whom it May Concern,

Yeah, I started that way. Because I can’t spend five more minutes on LinkedIn trying to track down the hiring manager for this role. Also, because, if I can be honest with you, it’s the only time I know I’m using whom correctly.

I’m interested in this job because I hate my current boss. I’m sorry, I mean because I’m not going to hit my goals this year and need to get out before I’m shown the door. Scratch that, what I meant to say is that I’m interested in this job because it pays money—twice a month, right into the ole bank account.

But I know, I know, you want to know why you should hire me, applicant 542 out of 1,043. The convenient news is that I’ve attached my resume to this application so you can see everything laid out in nice little bullet points. Oh also, I linked to my LinkedIn profile…as requested.

Oh also, I’m passionate about what your company does. Like so passionate. 13/10 passionate. You saw a problem and you solved it. I’m guessing. And man oh man, does that make me pumped! Also, #innovative, #problemsolver, and hmm, let’s throw in #teamplayer.

Anyways, at this point, I’m probably talking to the inside of a trash can because no one reads these things, so it’s probably time to sign off. But, if you’re worried that I’m about to go MIA, fear not Mr. Whom it May Concern! You’re going to get at least one to two emails from me in this next week “just casually checkin’ in” and “just followin’ up when you have a sec.”

Looking forward to the black hole of never hearing from you,
Applicant #542

Feel like that was ripped from the insides of your head? If so, sorry, that sounds unnecessarily painful. (Also double sorry for making such a Dad joke.)

But also, I know the feeling. And that’s why I want you to read these three articles before you apply to more jobs. While none of them are going to say what you want to hear—you don’t need to tailor your cover letter—they are going to (hopefully) make writing your next one a little less painful.

  1. The Perfect Cover Letter to Show Off Your Skills
  2. The Cover Letter Formula That Skyrocketed My Interviews from 0 to 55
  3. 3 Quick Tricks to Make Writing a Conversational Cover Letter Easy

Let me know on Twitter how it goes!