I’m sure by now most people have either heard about, or have actually read this cover letter sent to a Wall Street firm. Obviously, once it went viral, it became the kiss of death letter for this poor schmo who is never going to live it down. Just in case you’ve been locked in a safe room for the last week, with no connection to the outside world, this is a cut and paste of the first bit of that letter:
Dear Sir or Madame:
I am an ambitious undergraduate at NYU triple majoring in Mathematics, Economics, and Computer Science. I am a punctual, personable, and shrewd individual, yet I have a quality which I pride myself on more than any of these.
I am unequivocally the most unflaggingly hard worker I know, and I love self-improvement. I have always felt that my time should be spent wisely, so I continuously challenge myself; I left Villanova because the work was too easy. Once I realized I could achieve a perfect GPA while holding a part-time job at NYU, I decided to redouble my effort by placing out of two classes, taking two honors classes, and holding two part-time jobs. That semester I achieved a 3.93, and in the same time I managed to bench double my bodyweight and do 35 pull-ups.
My question is this: When did this letter go wrong? When he left Villanova because it was too easy? When he snagged himself 2 part time jobs while simultaneously taking EVERY class offered in the new school? Or was is simply the bench presses and pull ups?
Seriously? I need to know; I’m in that job search mode myself right now, and although I find his letter hysterical because it’s so idiotic for an intern to be presenting himself as the next Superhero of the Geek world, I’ve been tempted to write the same sort of letter.
Hopefully, mine would be a little more entertaining, and would definitely have more meat coming from my life experience. But isn’t this what a cover letter is all about…getting someone’s attention, pumping up all your good qualities and outlining your outstanding abilities? I’m looking down the barrel of a “Do you want fries with that?” change in employment, and I really don’t WANT to make the same mistakes as Pull-Up Boy, but I don’t know if I can help it. This is MY letter. You tell me:
Dear Sir or Madame:
You need to hire me. I can do anything. Not only am I’m a college graduate, but I have taken numerous independent classes over the years in a multitude of subjects that I found interesting, so I know a lot of stuff. Let the new college graduates take the jobs at the drive thru windows, and consider me for any position worth having.
When I say I can do anything, I really mean it. I’m a mother. Once you pass a watermelon through your hoo-haa, there is no work project that is daunting.
I was a stand up comic. Once you see a drunk chick sitting right in front of you while on stage, getting ready to projectile vomit on your new shoes, and you manage to dodge the spew, finish your bit and turn the clean-up into a new bit, there is no curve ball that you can’t catch.
I worked backstage in live theater. Once you have a flamboyant chorus boy wearing nothing but a dance belt (google it) throw a hissy fit because his prop cane is missing, and you DON’T bitch slap him when he goes all diva and gets up in your face (or look at his butt as he sashays away), there is no HR problem you can’t navigate.
I’m a cancer survivor’s care giver. I can crack codes (insurance billing), decipher Latin (prescriptions), research new information (test studies), put in long hours (wake up in the middle of the night to check to see if he’s still breathing) and laugh in the face of adversity (BITE ME, Lymphoma!)
I lived though two dress rehearsal marriages (one was mine and one was my daughter’s) where the male leads were both jack asses. I can work with difficult people without chopping them up into small pieces, driving to the Everglades and getting rid of the evidence as alligator bait. Note: this also shows that I can work in a cut-throat environment with a “Plan B” if necessary!
And most importantly, I have learned all the high tech information that I need to know, but I can still add without a calculator, spell without spell-check and answer most questions without Google. I can sit at a workstation and concentrate on the job at hand. I don’t need a lounge with a treadmill, trampoline and ping pong table. An office chair suits me just fine; bean bags, bouncy balls and chaise lounges aren’t a carrot on a stick to me. I just show up, and by that I mean I don’t just log on from my sofa, in my jammies. I’ll shower, dress and come to where you are.
So to quote Pull-Ups Boy,
I am unequivocally the most unflaggingly hard worker I know, and I love self-improvement. I have always felt that my time should be spent wisely, so I continuously challenge myself;
The only difference here is that I know what that sentence means and I have actually lived my life that way. And that is why you should hire me.