Bluntness Pays

English: Emily Blunt at the Orange British Aca...

The Queen of Bluntness: Actress Emily Blunt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

And if you can tell me that everything you put in your resume, write in your cover letter or share in a job interview is true, then please get in line for sainthood immediately.

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 best cover letter of all time (courtesy of Business Insider)

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.”

“Instant classic.”

“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 , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Good for him! Honesty can be the best policy. Resume writing and the like are all fine but a lot of companies are using sites like Kenxa and Taleo as a filter before your submitted resume will be considered. They usually require you to take tests to prove your honesty and trustworthiness before anything else. Oh, yes and they’re running credit checks as well. I cannot understand how these types of companies who are by their very nature are parasitic could fairly evaluate anyone’s resume especially when they for example use such important tools searching for outdated industry terms as a reason to trash a resume. I have personally come to the decision that the human resource industry ranks right up there with shady used car salesman, ambulance chasing lawyers and bible thumping politicians.

  2. Can I get your email address to send you a pitch? My email is

  3. I’m pitching an artist. Here’s a little information on her: Her name is Sandflower Power. She is coming out with a new music video possibly this month, but definitely shortly. The title of the song is “Rock it to the Moon.” It is a remake of the strangler’s 1978 single “Rock it to the Moon.”
    The music video is being released by Blackground/Interscope, the label she is signed to.

  4. Kind of, I’m doing pro bone PR for her. I would love for you to write a positive review of her.

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