Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Cover Letter Conundrum

I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). 

Note: This post was written a year or so ago, when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job hunting efforts or reveal any information about my former company.  The purpose of these posts aren't to bash my former employer but to share my experience.

In early September I basically talked my way out of a potential job because my salary requirements are too high.  I don't really want to work for a law firm again but if I have to, knowing what I know about the expectations, I would demand top dollar.

I saw a job I was interested in several weeks ago and was going to tweak my resume to match it.  Before I got a chance, the listing was removed.  So then I mind-fucked myself by apply for a few jobs before tweaking my resume at all, so I probably screwed the pooch on those as well.

In the meantime I've been encouraged to write cover letters to go along with my job submissions.  I hate writing cover letters almost as much as I hate going through the HR Pre-interview Dance.  The cover letter is marketed as a way to distinguish yourself from the crowd but its really just one more opportunity to screw up something that has no bearing on your job whatsoever.

You cannot know if the person you are sending it to like them short or long; its one more thing you have to proofread because Gods forbids if you make a single typo or punctuation mistake you are obviously a horrible DBA, developer, System Admin or other form of Widget Maker.  And you have to track down useless information like their office snail mail address even though you are sending this stuff electronically.

The reality is that the people who read these letters need their egos stroked so they look forward to a well written cover letter but also relish a bad one so that they have justification for not choosing said candidate.  It's much easier to eliminate someone on the grounds that if they forgot a comma, they aren't detailed oriented and will obviously bring ALL the network Servers down first chance they get rather than determine based on resume fodder who is a better investment of an interview. 

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