I have always been a fan of truth in advertising. If companies would just level with consumers once in a while, I know they would appreciate it because I certainly would.
When the shoe is on the other foot, however, we aren’t very truthful, either.
You might be asking yourself, “How exactly do we advertise to companies?” It’s simple. Anytime we apply for a job with one of these organizations, we are advertising and selling one very clear product: ourselves.
I’ll be the first to confess. Everything in my own resume is true, from a certain point of view, but much of it has been embellished for dramatic effect. The truth is there and I didn’t lie, mind you. I just piled on the bullshit which, in a way, could be misleading.
Let he who is without embellishments on his resume cast the first stone.
I also have the opportunity to sift through other people’s bullshit because in my current position, I interview applicants and review resumes all the time. It can be daunting, of course, but it can also be quite entertaining. Some people get very creative in selling themselves. And some shine themselves up so much that they couldn’t live up to their image even if they wanted to. Call it resume self-destruction.
Whenever I review cover letters, though, I always look for that one quality lacking in most job candidates: bluntness. To me, bluntness equals honesty, and there are few qualities more important in a new employee than that.
One of the best cover letters I have ever read is just starting to make the rounds on most news sites. It was sent to a trendy Wall Street investment bank by an undergraduate finance student at some unidentified New York College. The student is interested in an internship and does something completely unexpected.
He tells the truth.
But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself:
The email responses to this young man’s extremely blunt cover letter were quite favorable, as you might imagine. Here are a few of my favorites:
“This might be the best cover letter I’ve ever received. Second and third paragraphs especially.”
“Please tell me you’re considering at least a phone interview.”
“Not sure if either of you guys are still looking for a lackey to build models and fetch coffee, but this kid could be worth a conversation.”
The best response, of course, has to be this one because it proves this bluntness strategy paid off: “We called him.”
And that’s what we call “getting your foot in the door,” ladies and gentlemen!
Posted on January 21, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged bluntness, Business, commentary, Cover letter, current-events, employment, honesty, humor, Investment Banks, news, perspectives, Wall Street. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.