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Friday, May 27, 2005

Sampling is allowed in rap music, but that's about it.

What makes a cover letter stand out from the hundreds that can inundate a hiring manager for even the lowest-paying entry-level positions? Some say a compelling first paragraph or an original way of expressing an idea can cut through the clutter.

But four recent applicants for a receptionist position at a Manhattan photography studio were noticed for an entirely different reason. All four, who live in different parts of New York City, used identical language in a portion of their e-mailed cover letters, said Mary Catanzaro, the employee who reviewed and screened the applications.

"What my résumé does not reveal is my professional demeanor and appearance," all four wrote. "In a business environment these qualities are of the utmost importance in dealing with clients as well as co-workers. In me, you'll discover a reliable, detail-oriented and extremely hard-working associate, one who will serve as a model to encourage other staff members to demonstrate a high standard of professionalism."

The applicants apparently lifted the passage from the Microsoft Office Web site's template gallery ("Secretary cover letter"), a tactic that has become increasingly common in an age when thousands of cover letters, résumés and thank-you notes are readily available to download or cut and paste.

Specialists agree that the abundance of job information available online makes it possible for people to conduct more informed job searches. But it is also more likely that employers will receive similar or nearly identical résumés and cover letters copied from easily accessible Web sites. Résumés downloaded from online templates and sent to employers often show up with similar or identical layouts, formats, fonts, headings and objectives.

READ: Want Your Letter to Stand Out? Here's a Tip: Write It Yourself

Comments:
I totally agree. Having been an employer and an employee who is currently looking - I remember getting cover letters that said nearly the exact same thing.

At the same time, I found that I was innundated with so many resumes that I started narrowing down my search based ONLY on the cover letter.

Of course, that doesn't work with the large companies who use a database to match skills, but for me, cover letters are an important vehicle to outline your skills and why you'd be a fit.

Oh, and if I received a resume by Email, I found it okay to have to open the resume as an attachment - but not the cover letter. I mean, come on, would you mail a resume in one envelope and mail your cover letter in another?

But, that's just my 2 cents...
 
Post a Comment

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