The cover letter l read this morning contained several statements designed to make a personal connection with a hiring manager, but failed dismally. The cover letter was too wordy and faked an interest in an employer.
How can I be so sure the interest in the employer is faked? Easily, the cover letter and resume were posted online. They were not sent to a specific company. There is no way for the job seeker to know who is going to read his resume. Below is how he started his cover letter:
I am looking for a dynamic and challenging position where I can utilize my leadership, operations, and human resources expertise. I am familiar with your organization and am extremely interested in working for a company of this caliber.
Making the claim of being familiar with the organization, when the job seeker has no idea who is going to read the resume hurts the overall impression and credibility of the job seeker. My reaction is to consider this a bunch of BS and to expect the rest of the cover letter and the resume to more of the same. The job seeker now has an uphill battle to win me over.
The cover letter would have been much stronger if it had skipped this first paragraph entirely. The next paragraph focused on the candidate’s skills and abilities. It’s not perfect, but makes a fair impression and would be fine without the intro in the first paragraph.
Remember your audience, a resume screener or hiring manager, will be skeptical when reading your resume and cover letter. They know each job seeker tries to create the best sales pitch. Part of the assessment is looking for claims that are not credible and exaggerations that overly inflate the candidate’s experience. You do not want to hurt your credibility by including information that is obviously untrue. Your resume may only get a 15 to 30 second look initially. You have a lot of competition and it is easy for a hiring manager to reject you and move on to the next resume. Don’t give them a reason at the start to reject you.