How Not to Get a Job: Cover Letters from Hell

11 November 2007 at 5:00AM Leave a comment

Killian and Company is a creative Chicago ad agency that collects awful cover letters, most presented by intern candidates. They’ve presented many of the submissions they’ve received on a gruesome and horrifying page. Here’s an example, which should be studied by anyone seeking a job (the comments in green are from the company):

“I need real world experience and after reviewing your web site I get the impressing that your company believes in maintain a lax work environment while efficiently meeting the needs of it’s customers (right?).” [We replied to this college senior, on an ill-advised rescue impulse, gently suggesting he get some remedial help with his writing, since he had an error in every single sentence of his three-page letter. His furious four-page reply included some amazing stuff, such as]

“…you should be straight forward and … simply state that your company is seeking a grammar teacher who lacks creativity but knows how to properly write a letter and knows exactly where to place punctuation. If your company takes such a serious position towards proper grammar then I think you guys are in the wrong profession. I believe even the leader of this country that we live in lacks proper grammar yet he is still our leader. I can assure you that he leaves grammar and punctuation to the proper authorities such as his receptionist or grade school English teacher. …I am not precisely sure why you choose to take such a stance perhaps because you have nothing better to do, or maybe because you have personal insecurities that seep out and you feel the need to degrade or target others based on stupid little infractions to make yourself feel better, I don’t know what the case is … if I am out of line please let me know but if I recall properly your companies web site is not the most professional site there is. If you guys are trying to project a laid back yet hard working image through your site and request the same from prospective employees then you should not be so prudent about minor infractions such as punctuation and grammar…. (I reread it before sending it and it states my point clearly and unless you lack the mental capacity to make out the meaning without having exact and precisise grammar maybe you should seek a new proffsion, I hear this country lacks alot of grammar school teachers perhaps that would be a better fit for you) In conclusion I have indeed made many mistakes in this e-mail many on purpose and many accidentaly I did not have the time nor the patientce to deal with it I will leave the grammer checking to the professionals such as yourself.” [Editor’s note: although his response fascinated us, you can understand why we no longer reply to the Differently Stable.]

Oh. My.

Go see the whole page of examples on the Cover Letters from Hell page.

BTW: I like Killian and Company’s internship page. The linked page describes their Intern Creativity Test. A sample:

What’s your dress code?
Since naked employees tend to be distracting, our dress code asks employees and interns, politely but firmly, to dress. Those who remain persistently, defiantly nude are subject to a reprimand. (We haven’t had to resort to that yet, but we are ever vigilant.)

These guys are good! Of course, anyone who worships at the Shrine of Strunk and White is at the top of my list!

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Entry filed under: Cover Letters, NotJobs.

How Not to Hire: Whacked Job Postings Job Fair Calendar updated

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My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.

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