Yawn, It’s Another Dud Cover Letter

7 Happybrook Lane, Croydon Vic 3136
Telephone: 8888 7776
Email: John@bigpool.com

September 8, 2010

Attention: David Whitehead Recruitment

Re: Your Advertised Position

Dear Sir or Madam

I would like to apply for the position advertised in The Trumpet on September 9th and hereby attach a copy of my resume for your perusal.

I am currently an Area Manager for Clothes ‘R Us. Clothes ‘R Us is a large, national company that has set the scene for innovation in the women’s casual dress area. With sales of more than $60 million a year, Clothes ‘R Us has become the employer of choice for staff members and has won the trust of the 35-45 women’s demographic.

As the Area Manger based at the Croydon North store, I am responsible for overseeing my team, managing budgets, resolving customer complaints and ensuring that merchandise is displayed to drive foot traffic to the store. I am also responsible for other tasks such as meeting with store managers to provide assistance in how revenues can be generated.

I hope you will consider my application to work for your client’s company. I am loyal, a good leader, responsive to directions and possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills. I also consider myself a big-picture visionary.

I would be happy to attend an interview to discuss mutual interests.

Sincerely John Prospect.

Enclosed: Resume

Keep Scrolling—Let’s Dive Deeper into John’s Cover Letter!

So, you’ve heard about John. Sounds like a stand-up guy with plenty of mojo, right? But hold up—his cover letter’s a bit of a letdown. You’re puzzled, and we get it! Let’s unpack the reasons his cover letter fizzles rather than sizzles.

Oops, Manners Matter!

John started off on the wrong foot by ignoring the name “David” specified in the job ad and going for a generic “Dear Sir or Madam.” Come on, John! People want to feel seen—always try to find the contact’s name. And if you can’t? Then don’t use a name and just straight in.

Skimpy on the Details

“Your advertised position” is as vague as saying, “Hey, remember that thing we talked about?” A recruiter has numerous jobs to fill, not just one! Give them a clue by adding a reference number or job title. If not, your cover letter might end up in the infamous “too hard” pile.

First Impressions—Don’t Be a Wet Fish!

Starting off with, “I would like to apply for” is as exciting as watching paint dry. Kick it up a notch! Hit the recruiter with an opener that makes them sit up and take notice!

Legalese—Not So Pleased

Words like “hereby” and “perusal” make you sound like you’re straight out of a Dickens novel. Drop the stuffy tone and shoot for something more conversational. Be professional, but don’t be a bore.

Triple-Check, Then Check Again!

Never trust your computer’s spell check alone. Mistakes happen (did you see the Area Manger”?) but let’s catch them before you look like you’ve got egg on your face. Get a friend to proofread it for you—better safe than sorry!

Me, Myself, and I

Okay, we get it, John—it’s all about you. But wait, shouldn’t it also be about what the employer wants? Time to switch gears. Replace the ‘I’s with ‘you’s and focus on what you can do for them. Let’s be other-people-centric, shall we?

Off-Topic Alert!

John, why are you advertising the company? Stay on track and focus on how YOU can add value to THEM. We don’t need a sales pitch for Clothes ‘R Us!

Show, Don’t Just Tell

What’s missing? Cold, hard evidence of John’s awesomeness. Don’t just list job duties; give them a taste of your victories! What have you achieved, and how did you make things better? Give us the sizzle, not just the steak.

Cliché Alert!

Loyal, responsive, and a good leader? John’s cover letter makes him sound less like an executive and more like a golden retriever. And let’s not forget the cringe-worthy “big picture visionary” claim. Make your unique qualities pop, don’t bury them in clichés.

Ask, and You Shall Receive

Ending with a limp “I’ll attend an interview to discuss mutual interests”, is the career equivalent of a weak handshake. Come on, be bold! Make it clear what you want—the interview, the job, the whole shebang!

There you go! A deep dive into why John’s cover letter needs a makeover, stat! Do you see yourself making the same mistakes?

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Let’s use the information above to create something new.

7 Happybrook Lane
Croydon Vic 3136
Telephone: 8888 7776
Email: John@bigpool.com

September 8, 2010

Attention: David Whitehead Recruitment

Re: Regional Manager, National Clothing Inc., Reference RM/1001.DWR

Dear David

In today’s turbulent economic environment, retailers need leaders demonstrating the confidence to continue red-carpet service for loyal customers, the energy to maintain a responsive, top-quality staff and the initiative to take bold steps for cost containment and lean operations. Your advertisement indicates that your client is seeking individuals with those talents and more, and it is common knowledge in the industry that National Clothing Inc., is in the type of growth pattern that is my area of specialisation. National Clothing Inc., will benefit from my leadership in the areas of budget management, revenue generation and store rejuvenation as the following selected highlights of recent times will prove.

  • Transformed a demoralised group of people with high levels of absenteeism, into a formidable, customer service team providing service that delights. Customer-engagement rates previously languishing, rose 32% to an all-time high of 97% following delivery of an integrated program of training, succession planning and incentives.
  • Surpassed expectations for cutting the budget by 10% without compromising levels of service and numbers of front-line staff. Outsourced administrative and payroll services and negotiated a multi-year deal that cut expenses by $500K annually.
  • Kick-started a new, store-wide sales and marketing campaign for a channel partnership that generated unprecedented foot traffic to stores. Initiative delivered ROI in the first three weeks and progressed to create $1M in new revenues in six months.

As the current Area Manager for Clothes ‘R Us, I can bring to National Clothing Inc., a new leadership style to propel the company forward as it seeks to stamp its mark of distinction in all areas from customer and staff engagement, though new market penetration and beyond. It would be a pleasure to discuss your client’s needs and my capacity to meet and exceed their expectations with new solutions and proven programs.

I am available to chat in the next week and keen to move forward. Please let me know what days and times work for you.

Thanks David for your time. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Sincerely

John Prospect

Enclosed: Resume

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This new cover letter is confident, provides proven examples of John’s expertise, and has a sense of urgency that compels the reader to pick up the telephone. The emphasis is on the client’s needs, and it takes the reader on a journey.

The good news is, it’s never too late to turn things around! Ready to revamp your cover letter?

Are you submitting cover letter yawns?

Here is the YouTube webinar based on this article.

22 Comments

  1. Gayle Howard

    Updated my blog! Yawn, It’s Another Dud Cover Letter: 7 Happybrook Lane Croydon Vic 3136 Telephone: 8888 7776 Emai… http://bit.ly/agoC9s

    Reply
  2. Gayle Howard

    Updated my blog! Yawn, It’s Another Dud Cover Letter: 7 Happybrook Lane Croydon Vic 3136 Telephone: 8888 7776 Emai… http://bit.ly/agoC9s

    Reply
  3. Jennifer Costello

    RT @GayleHoward: Updated my blog! Yawn, It’s Another Dud Cover Letter: 7 Happybrook Lane Croydon Vic 3136 Telephone: 8888 7776 Emai… http://bit.ly/agoC9s

    Reply
  4. IMasterfeed

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  6. IMasterfeed

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  7. IMasterfeed

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  8. IMasterfeed

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  9. IMasterfeed

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  10. IMasterfeed

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  11. IMasterfeed

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  12. IMasterfeed

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  13. IMasterfeed

    Yawn, It's Another Dud Cover Letter | The Executive Brand Blog http://bit.ly/agDgO4

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  14. Ginak

    Ahhh, one of the many things I wish candidates would care about during their search. Great post!

    Reply
    • Gayle Howard

      Thanks Gina! A lot of recruiters indicate that they don’t read cover letters (but it could be that most of them are such a yawn and say the same thing!). It could be a really valuable way to communicate if people just stepped outside boundaries of traditional thinking. Thanks for your comment and thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  15. Bill Kernoczy

    RT @Pattycam: Yawn, It's Another Dud Cover Letter – http://ow.ly/2CAvQ Some relevant advice for your resume cover letters b4 and after

    Reply
  16. Bill Kernoczy

    RT @Pattycam: Yawn, It's Another Dud Cover Letter – http://ow.ly/2CAvQ Some relevant advice for your resume cover letters b4 and after

    Reply

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About Gayle Howard

If you are interested in working with Gayle Howard—an executive resume writer, Certified Master Resume Writer, multi-award-winning resume writer, and Master LinkedIn profile writer, drop her a line now using the contact form at the link above. Gayle can help you get interviews for your dream job and bring the world of business to you by maximizing your exposure and connections on LinkedIn.

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