I am always amazed at the never-ending torrent of articles and blog posts on the topic of cover-letter writing; more specifically, “How To Write The Perfect Cover Letter”—one that will not only guarantee you the interview, but the job itself…as well as a later promotion and company car.
These articles are all one in the same… published to this or that website or career guide and with the promise that if you were to take advantage of the advice given thereof, no matter who or what you are, then the job you hope to land will be yours.
To be honest, when I launched Resume Deli’s blog in 2013 I felt compelled to write on the topic of cover letters as well. Though I did try to bring to the table a fresh take on the topic, at the end of the day, I often wound up with the pedestrian “how-to” post (witness “Four No-Exception Cover Letter Mistakes”).
But the proverbial shit hit the fan this week when TIME MAGAZINE saw fit to republish a piece titled, “7 Cover Letter Mistakes That Will Sink You”.
Enough already: it’s time to set the record straight on what the “perfect” cover letter is… and isn’t.
Unless you’re applying to an ultra-progressive social-media start-up or entertainment agency, you should refrain from composing your cover letter in a Haiku format or emailing it as a hyper music video.
A “perfect” cover letter should simply reflect who you are, in terms of its content and tone. When your interviewer says, “So, I was reading your cover letter…” it should summon in you feelings of pride; not embarrassment or anxiety.
Cover letters exist to introduce you to a potential employer: they work best when they empathetically communicate how well your skills and accomplishments match up to the job you’re applying for.
So unless dancing, singing, or being funny are your true talents—AND they are being specifically called for—then sweating to produce a cover letter that nonetheless has you doing any one of these things is just going to demonstrate your ineptitude and lack of self-awareness, if not your dishonesty; the kind of attributes that will not have you direct-depositing a periodic sum into your bank account.