Dear people wanting an entry-level PR job:
Thanks for your interest. We’re thrilled that so many of you visited our firm's web site. Those of you who didn’t should consider a different career. Or go work for one of our competitors.
You all have nice resumes. That’s expected. But we read your cover letter first. This was your chance to tell us why we should be interested in you versus the 90 other people who also want this job.
Unfortunately, many of your cover letters were poorly thought out and badly written. Several were stunning in their awfulness.
Next time you submit your resume somewhere, make sure your cover letter doesn’t get you rejected because of mistakes like these:
No-brainer personality traits. You love working with people? Excellent. This puts you above all the PR job candidates who love working with farm animals.
Hyphenation hate. If your letter reads that “I’m a first class writer with an all out attitude ready to work for a top notch company,” you’re not and you won’t.
Redundant hyperbole over and over. If you use the word passion more than five times, you’re mostly passionate about not using a thesaurus.
A firm and wordy grasp of the obvious. We don’t know if you’re sucking up or if you honestly think we’re impressed by you telling us that “It requires a lot of hard work and an exceptional team of employees for a business to become and remain successful.” Leave the bromidic insights to us pros.
Missing something important. One letter we received was 400 words long and didn’t mention our company once.
A wrong view of how the working world works. We know you want things out of life. We also know we don't want self-absorbed newbies who says things like: “After significant research into your company, I have decided that this position offers me an excellent opportunity to gain valuable experience in a career area in that I am interested in.”
One more thing. You're not writing a novel. If we have to go to the bathroom in the middle of reading your letter, it’s too long.
Good luck out there.
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(Originally posted in 2010.)