J.R. Blackwell (blackwell) wrote,
J.R. Blackwell

A Note On Cover Letters

Don't write anything negative about yourself in your cover letter. Seriously. Don't.

I have been reviewing cover letters recently, and one strange thing I've found is that many people will actually talk smack about themselves in their cover letter. I don't know why people do this. If you are writing your cover letter, review it to make sure you haven't written any crap about yourself in it.

Mostly, the smack talk  goes something like this:

"Even though I don't have a Bachelors degree, I am very experienced in my field."

Why emphasize what you don't have? Why not just say "I am very experienced in my field."  We weren't even thinking about your lack of a Bachelors until you brought it up. Now it's in the forefront of our minds.

Or they will write something like this: "I have been out of work for six months because of the bad economy."

I mean, true, the economy is crap. You know this. We know this. But this sounds like making excuses (PERFECTLY UNDERSTANDABLE EXCUSES, from my point of view) but remember, big privileged bosses just don't get it. Seriously. Most of them come from privileged backgrounds and just do not understand that being out of work, for any length of time, has anything to do with anything but strength of character. It's lame, and dumb, and wrong, but that's where it is.

Why not write: "I have been working with Habitat for Humanity for six months helping them to build houses downtown."

When you write something negative about yourself in your cover letter, it doesn't read as you being honest. It reads like you either have terrible self-esteem or that you have SO MANY negative qualities that you just have to mention at least one on your cover letter. Basically, it gives us a reason to shred your application - and since we are getting hundreds of applications, any reason to shred them is a good one.

In conclusion, stop writing crap about yourself in your cover letters. Don't shoot yourself in the kneecap. If anyone is going to shoot down your dreams, let it be an employer, don't do it to yourself.
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