A reader sent me this real-life cover letter that she received from a job applicant:
Hi. This very professionally-beginning cover letter should immediately alert you to my easy-going and comprehensive approach to task completion while making it strikingly obvious that I am both interested in and capable of performing HR duties with sophisticated exactitude. The quickening of your heart is likely subsiding at this point as your mind digests the familiar words in this second, poetic, figuration of how it feels to work with me: A profound calm washes over you as you realize we’re on the same team, striving for common goals. Clearly my efforts are oriented always toward mutually-beneficial understanding(s). As we part, smiling (of course), you check your pockets, laughing somewhat cynically at yourself for even thinking that I may’ve stolen your cell phone or wallet while we spoke, but then…your watch! Oh yes, you left it on the nightstand today, and come to think of it, you wrist feels so free and graceful, perhaps even sensual against the cuff of your shirt’s random meanderings. This, my friend, is how your life will feel every day we work together, except better.
I don’t know where to start, although not raising the possibility that you might pick your interviewer’s pocket is one place. Not invoking the sensual feeling of her wrist is another.
I know cover letters feel like an intimidating and even mysterious thing to many people. But really, they are just intended to explain why you’re interested in the job and why you’d excel at it. They really, really don’t need to do … whatever this letter is doing.
I would like to think this is a joke, but it’s very much a real thing that some job applicants have internalized the idea that they must do Something Different from everyone else in order to stand out, and often that manifests in creepy or otherwise bizarre ways.
whoever told you to be creative in your cover letter has led you horribly astray was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.