As many of us are nearing graduation from the Walter Cronkite j-school, we are already starting to apply for jobs. In this tough job market, we need to find anything (and I mean, any little thing) that can set us apart from the other thousands of resumes that a company receives.
When I say first impression, this could mean anything; our resume, social skills, appropriate outfit and even how firm of a handshake we can give our employer. But aside from all this, our cover letter will be the first impression of us made by our potential employer.
This is a first impression on paper.
In the blog Ragan.com, I found an interesting post called Is this the worst cover letter ever? This post uses a bad cover letter to teach the readers what “not to do.” David Murray said his company was emailed a cover letter from a student inquiring about a job. He said this cover letter was so bad they always knew they’d post it. So let’s take advice from this one cover letter so we don’t make the same mistakes.
Some main points Murray teaches us are:
- Don’t use the words “I”, “me”, and “my” too many times. Even though a cover letter is an introduction of ourselves, it needs to be about our employer as well. In other words, we can’t get too full of ourselves.
- Do not misspell the name of the company you are applying for. This is a big no no and an automatic “next applicant, please.”
- Don’t use the word “prominent undergrad.” Murray says, “Look, we cover PR here; don’t try to kid a bunch of kidders, okay kiddo?”
- Tailor your resume to the company. In this case, the applicant wrote that his writing skills will apply to speech writing and public relations. Well, that is great, but Ragan doesn’t do speech writing or PR.
These are just a few of the comments Murray made about what is said to be the worst cover letter ever. As we continue to apply for jobs, take a few extra minutes to edit your cover letter and make sure it fits the positioning and image and work of your potential employer. We want to make the best first impression and it all starts with our cover letter.
Do you all agree that first impressions could start with a cover letter? What are some other things the job applicants can do to make sure their cover letter makes the best first impression?