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(The Atlantic)   Forgotten advice from Leonardo da Vinci offers instruction how to write one of the most useless, ignored items that accompanies job applications and resumes: the cover letter   (theatlantic.com) divider line 49
    More: Silly, Tim Schafer  
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4313 clicks; posted to Main » on 19 Jul 2014 at 4:19 AM (9 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-19 03:18:57 AM
I have also types of cannon, most convenient and easily portable, with which to hurl small stones almost like a hail-storm; and the smoke from the cannon will instil a great fear in the enemy on account of the grave damage and confusion.

I'm going to include that in my next cover letter.
 
2014-07-19 04:26:07 AM
You think your traveling with a novice?
 
2014-07-19 04:41:09 AM
I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......
 
2014-07-19 04:44:51 AM
Oh, and with all the data everybody wants on an app nowadays, you can figure on at least an hour for each app. There was a time when you could send out 20 resumes or more an hour. It was a better way to fish for a job. I'm not wasting 30 minutes or more editing my cover letter for each company. I guess it's time to start my own place.....
 
2014-07-19 04:47:10 AM
I also have in mind a public forum, with a reach across all nations, where unproductive men may share their thoughts in large quantities, and engage in pointless debate, rather than remain idle.
 
2014-07-19 04:47:52 AM
You're hired!

Your dead. but you're hired!
 
2014-07-19 05:02:52 AM

TiredWings: I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......


It's even better when they ask you to attach a separate resume from the painstakingly detailed application they required.  It should be either one or the other.  Plus, if you submit it via email, your email should be the cover letter, yet they require a separate cover letter attachment.
 
2014-07-19 05:18:44 AM

gadian: TiredWings: I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......

It's even better when they ask you to attach a separate resume from the painstakingly detailed application they required.  It should be either one or the other.  Plus, if you submit it via email, your email should be the cover letter, yet they require a separate cover letter attachment.


I'm fine with the cover letter attachment. The resume on top of a resume thing drives me up a wall. ( especially with references on top of references).

And HR types can go pound sand because you're cranky that I didn't send you a thank you card. You didn't have the decency to send me a rejection letter, I'm not wasting my time writing you a card
 
2014-07-19 05:22:06 AM

TiredWings: I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......


In the real old days you just walked in for a job and they gave it to you because they needed people so badly.

Now,  even if you do get an interview they troll you with stupid questions like; If you could be a vegetable which would you be and why?

I know I wouldn't want to be that carrot shoved up your ass that's for sure. (Not you specifically TW)

/Was really asked that once
//Too many applicants let them fark around with people
 
2014-07-19 05:24:39 AM

Aar1012: gadian: TiredWings: I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......

It's even better when they ask you to attach a separate resume from the painstakingly detailed application they required.  It should be either one or the other.  Plus, if you submit it via email, your email should be the cover letter, yet they require a separate cover letter attachment.

I'm fine with the cover letter attachment. The resume on top of a resume thing drives me up a wall. ( especially with references on top of references).

And HR types can go pound sand because you're cranky that I didn't send you a thank you card. You didn't have the decency to send me a rejection letter, I'm not wasting my time writing you a card


Thank you for not hiring me,  if you want to stop by later I will also clean the sweat from your ass with my tongue and shine your shoes.

/Oh holy job creator
//spit shine
 
2014-07-19 05:27:25 AM
Had a couple of places want me to do a couple of days work as an unpaid 'test'

fark that shiat right now.
 
2014-07-19 05:30:08 AM

gaspode: Had a couple of places want me to do a couple of days work as an unpaid 'test'

fark that shiat right now.


That shiat ought to be illegal.  Rationalize it all they like, it's nothing but theft of services.
 
2014-07-19 06:34:12 AM
I like Leonardo's style. Reminds me a little of my own...which is probably why I don't hear from anyone about anything. At least a hundred applications in two years, and...nothing. Maybe I should just make my cover letter boring as sin.

My letterhead, though? You better believe that's staying. Took me five minutes in Microsoft Word to craft that beauty in High Tower Text.
 
2014-07-19 06:35:45 AM
He was great in that film.

The one with the guns and stuff.
 
2014-07-19 06:59:33 AM
Once again, The Atlantic demonstrates that the Choate-Harvard train delivers baskets of trite web-doodles just like everyone else.

Not every career area assigns the same importance to a cover letter.

I did like the Welty letter excerpts, though. Great gal.
 
2014-07-19 07:33:45 AM
We don't even know what a cover letter is .
 
2014-07-19 08:05:25 AM

gaspode: Had a couple of places want me to do a couple of days work as an unpaid 'test'

fark that shiat right now.


It's a test to see if your time is worth zero dollars, so they know they will get a ton of unpaid overtime out of you.
 
2014-07-19 08:06:30 AM

TiredWings: You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that.


Then on top of that, you go in for 3-4 interviews with the same company (sometimes 4-6 hours each), and then they don't even have the common courtesy to send an email saying "thanks, but no thanks", much less *why*.
 
2014-07-19 08:13:49 AM

zeroman987: gaspode: Had a couple of places want me to do a couple of days work as an unpaid 'test'

fark that shiat right now.

It's a test to see if your time is worth zero dollars, so they know they will get a ton of unpaid overtime out of you.


Either that or those hiring had a track record of poor judgement. Is often the case. All problems come from poor hiring.
 
2014-07-19 08:18:05 AM

gadian: TiredWings: I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......

It's even better when they ask you to attach a separate resume from the painstakingly detailed application they required.  It should be either one or the other.  Plus, if you submit it via email, your email should be the cover letter, yet they require a separate cover letter attachment.


And when you get the interview, they ask you to fill out another application. When they finally speak to you, they want you to repeat what you just placed in writing in triplicate! Mindless HR biatches.


/yes, I know they want to evaluate your communication skills, but there are better ways got do that.
 
2014-07-19 08:29:31 AM
"I realize this will not phase you ..."

Sorry, but if I'm hiring a journalist, I'll take one who knows "phase" from "faze".
 
2014-07-19 08:30:11 AM
I was in a job search last summer. For most places, I already knew at least one person in a decision-making capacity. It was amazing how many buckets of crickets I generated. I wound up in a good position, same salary but overall better fringes, and a LOT less stress. But EVERY SINGLE place wanted what everyone describes here - "Go to our jobs website and fill out the online application." At least the place I wound up at only wanted the last 10 years work history, not every darn job back to high school.
 
2014-07-19 08:31:33 AM

Jesus McSordid: "I realize this will not phase you ..."

Sorry, but if I'm hiring a journalist, I'll take one who knows "phase" from "faze".


I saw that, too, but I wonder if it was correct when she wrote it. Language evolves and all that...
 
2014-07-19 08:36:09 AM

August11: zeroman987: gaspode: Had a couple of places want me to do a couple of days work as an unpaid 'test'

fark that shiat right now.

It's a test to see if your time is worth zero dollars, so they know they will get a ton of unpaid overtime out of you.

Either that or those hiring had a track record of poor judgement. Is often the case. All problems come from poor hiring.


I did not take the opportunity to find out ;)
 
2014-07-19 08:52:47 AM

TiredWings: I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......


I'm looking for work and Steve always says "well, canvas the streets..." but I do office work - copywriting, editing, proofreading, and legal assistant type work.  You can't walk into an office and disturb people unless you want to ensure you never, ever work there.  Especially when people would remember "the girl with too many consonants in her last name" - seriously, I have a z, a y, and a k. (If I ever get famous enough my name could be used in Scrabble, man, would I be worth points.)

My biggest problem is my last job was SO specific - I obtained permits for child actors on tours and TV shows, and wrote contracts for their teachers. I also advised production companies on compliance with the laws/regulations and negotiated with state agencies when they needed exemptions to regulations.  If I actually speak to someone, it makes more sense - in a "well, if I could do this, I could do anything" sort of way (since there aren't exactly hundreds of companies doing this) but on paper, they see "these skills do not match our computer's algorithm, so forget her".  My greatest hope is something comes up with one of the agencies I registered with, and a job fair next week, since in the former I have an advocate to whom I explained it all, and the latter, I am face to face with someone.  (Though, oh how I am already sick of boring dark brown hair.)
 
2014-07-19 09:05:53 AM
Never used a cover letter, still employed.  Use a recruiter, they're much more effective.
 
2014-07-19 09:06:13 AM

gaspode: Had a couple of places want me to do a couple of days work as an unpaid 'test'
.

I once worked in a brothel, mostly applying soap in the showers. It was $2/day. I know it sounds absurdly low, but it's all I could afford.
 
2014-07-19 09:08:45 AM
I used Leonardo's mirror-writing method to craft my last cover letter.
No responses, but it left something to reflect on.
 
2014-07-19 09:09:22 AM
I've only written cover letters when compelled to by an electronic format.  And they've consisted of some form of 'Thank you for reviewing my application for [position].  I believe my qualifications and experience will help bring success to your team.'  Of course these were mostly in-house moves where the application process was just a formality.  Good lord I'm glad I have a job...interviewing is flippin humiliating. You have to put on those interview clothes and...ugh I can't even think about it.  Best bet is to make yourself so valuable that you can walk into an interview with a burrito stain on your T shirt and still get the job.  Unfortunately I've finally 'risen to my level of incompetence' so those days are likely over for me.
 
2014-07-19 09:09:32 AM
As a Corporate Technical Recruiter, the only time I ever asked for a cover letter was when hiring Technical Writers. We never read the rest.
 
2014-07-19 09:10:49 AM

gadian: It's even better when they ask you to attach a separate resume from the painstakingly detailed application they required. It should be either one or the other. Plus, if you submit it via email, your email should be the cover letter, yet they require a separate cover letter attachment.


You do know that's part of the process to eliminate people who aren't worth hiring, right?
 
2014-07-19 09:16:23 AM

kwame: You do know that's part of the process to eliminate people who aren't worth hiring, right?


I also know it's part of the process to immediately insinuate total control over the situation and make sure the potential will follow any ridiculous request they ask.  That doesn't make the process efficient or all that effective.
 
2014-07-19 09:57:55 AM
You want a job? Leap through hoops, even if on fire.
Potential employer says jump? I ask how many mllimeters high.

Then again, I only had 1-2 positions where there was a web application, everything else involved sending an actual cover letter and CV to the potential boss. You best believe I sweated over every word.
 
2014-07-19 10:06:32 AM

lake_huron: Then again, I only had 1-2 positions where there was a web application, everything else involved sending an actual cover letter and CV to the potential boss. You best believe I sweated over every word.


Less and less likely - even to work at say, Walgreens or Trader Joes, you have to go online and fill out an application. Gone are the days of walking into a store, filling out an application, and talking to the manager. Everything is automated, and it's why qualified candidates are being overlooked, because computers can't reason and read resumes for anything but keywords.
 
2014-07-19 10:13:40 AM
I was unemployed for a few months last year; one thing that always drove me nuts was having to spend a ton of time filling out an individual profile with each company I was applying for. Nothing like copying and pasting your resume over and over and over again.

It was also dumb that you would basically insert yourself into their database, yet still have to provide a cover letter. No one is reading that if you are just being placed in their database, only to be called up in their search if you have the appropriate keywords.
 
2014-07-19 10:17:18 AM

cgremlin: TiredWings: You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that.

Then on top of that, you go in for 3-4 interviews with the same company (sometimes 4-6 hours each), and then they don't even have the common courtesy to send an email saying "thanks, but no thanks", much less *why*.


I had a phone interview with a certain well-known company, and then another, with no explanation of why they wanted to do essentially the same thing twice. Then they apparently rejected me but never said why. Aaaaaand...two years later, they're trying to recruit me again for something similar. I don't think they know what they are looking for, but they think they're the greatest company in the world.
 
2014-07-19 10:23:31 AM

TiredWings: I guess I'm old and miss the old days. Back before the internet ruled everything, you could walk into a business, hand over a resume and cover letter, and if anything in it or even if you were dressed well, you might get introduced to a decision maker. Now days nobody hardley takes a resume live. You are directed to a soulless website that you have to type every last bit of your personal and professional history into ( a real resume is a waste ) and hope something jumps out just from that. The most perfect applicant could be trying to get an interview but if the best buzz words are not used or if you have not filled in who was your third grade teacher you can forget it. No room for style nowadays.......


Feel my pain. Position opened up within my department but I have to wait for HR to post it. It would make all of our lives easier if I could just hand over my material to my boss instead of waiting for HR. But no, have to wait.
 
2014-07-19 11:12:14 AM
I hate to tell y'all, but I maybe read 1/20 cover letters I get, and that's only because they jump out and look either really great or really bad.   You can lose your shot at an interview if you have bad selling or grammar because that shows you're either an idiot or don't care enough, and I guess it's possible that a really funny one could get you an interview, bit I've never seen one of those from someone that wasn't getting an interview anyway,

/the longer the cover letter the less likely I'll read it
//most are just straight boiler plate, which I'm fine with
 
2014-07-19 11:16:47 AM

keep letting in all those illegal immigrants!


more labor supply, the better!

 
2014-07-19 11:20:13 AM

btw, why do we assume the illegal immigrants have no competitive job skills?


isn't that "gasp" racist?

 
2014-07-19 11:21:55 AM

gaspode: August11: zeroman987: gaspode: Had a couple of places want me to do a couple of days work as an unpaid 'test'

fark that shiat right now.

It's a test to see if your time is worth zero dollars, so they know they will get a ton of unpaid overtime out of you.

Either that or those hiring had a track record of poor judgement. Is often the case. All problems come from poor hiring.

I did not take the opportunity to find out ;)


I don't blame you one bit. I'd like to be financially set, so I could spend a year going on interviews, totally screwing with interviewers. Might get a book out of it.
 
2014-07-19 11:37:46 AM

lake_huron: You want a job? Leap through hoops, even if on fire.
Potential employer says jump? I ask how many mllimeters high.

Then again, I only had 1-2 positions where there was a web application, everything else involved sending an actual cover letter and CV to the potential boss. You best believe I sweated over every word.


Glory to our Glorious Job Creators!
 
2014-07-19 12:32:25 PM
Has anyone gotten a job through a company's web site? I've had no luck and I feel it's a sham set up so that companies can collect resumes to satisfy EOE requirements.

Hey look! We have black applicants! We have Asian applicants! We have left-handed, disabled lesbian war veterans applying for jobs!
 
2014-07-19 12:36:16 PM

CruJones: I hate to tell y'all, but I maybe read 1/20 cover letters I get, and that's only because they jump out and look either really great or really bad.   You can lose your shot at an interview if you have bad selling or grammar because that shows you're either an idiot or don't care enough, and I guess it's possible that a really funny one could get you an interview, bit I've never seen one of those from someone that wasn't getting an interview anyway,


+1 would LOL again
 
2014-07-19 01:21:36 PM
I have found my people!  I have two college degrees ( I'm an educated idiot, both are liberal arts ) and 15 years of management experience.  I loved being able to eyeball an applicant when they turned in an app or resume.  I have been looking for a job for the last six months while I finished up my second degree.  Ended up turning to a high school buddy who hooked me up with an entry level job.  Still had to fill out an online app to make his company happy.......
 
2014-07-19 01:24:22 PM
I'm glad you think so, Subby. Less competition for me.

The cover letter is one of the most overlooked opportunities of the application process. It's the place you emphasize the 3-4 most important/applicable parts of your resume. It's where you neutralize apparent weaknesses in your resume. It's the place you demonstrate your ability to write well and interestingly.

If a great résumé is what gets you the interview, a great cover letter is what gets your résumé read.
 
2014-07-19 01:36:36 PM
Resume and cover letter tips are like assholes. Everyone's got one and wants you to spend money to tell them theirs doesn't stink
 
2014-07-19 01:43:41 PM
And this is just to get an interview. God help you should you get the interview, nail it, only to anger

WADE, THE DESTROYER OF AMBITIONS

/Smells like HR BS as per SOP
 
2014-07-19 02:11:14 PM
ALSO: I also spoke with two separate jobs that asked me about my GPA/college transcripts.  My answer? "That was nearly 20 years ago... I honestly have no idea, other than I did well and graduated, but I couldn't honestly answer as nobody has asked me that question in almost 20 years."  This is the first unemployed spell I have had since before I graduated - and all thanks to breaking my wrist in two places.  I have an extensive resume that shows results in diverse jobs (all of which I was laid off from for financial reason - never fired - and can easily have this verified via references, aside from dotcom startups that closed over a decade ago.)  Who the hell cares how I did in college? It seems entirely irrelevant to anyone who has been working for 20 years in the fields I pursue jobs in.

Where the hell is this trend coming from for anyone but the most recent college graduates with no relevant work experience?
 
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