I’m noticing a new and interesting trend amongst job seekers and quite frankly, it’s making me crazy. CRAZY! Let me enlighten you with an example cover letter:
I know your website clearly states that you are looking for a Senior Something to come in and run an entire division of your company. And that this position requires 15 years of experience in a very specific industry. And that I must have experience with a very specific technology. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of these things, not a single one of them, but I think you should consider me anyway. You see, I have been an awesome burger flipper at the Golden Arches for years and at that time I led a team of mini-burger flippers. The cash registers were electric and are considered technology so I’m sure I can pick up on the specific tools your industry uses very easily. I can’t wait to talk to you more about this position.
Mr/Mrs “I know I’m not qualified but maybe you will find my honesty endearing and will consider me anyway…”
One might think that my annoyance comes from the fact that people are applying for positions they are woefully under-qualified for but that’s not my biggest beef. Although annoying, it’s not a new trend. It has been around for centuries and surely won’t go anywhere. After all, most candidates are reaching for that next great career move and at some point they’re bound to over-estimate their abilities. I’ve come to terms with the fact that many candidates think they are more qualified than they actually are – lets be honest, we’ve all been there.
What has me so fired up is the fact that a flood of candidates have somehow come to the conclusion that by admitting their faults and short-comings right off the bat, they are somehow more desirable to a company. It’s as if they believe that their complete honesty will somehow paint a halo of light over their heads, cause the angels to sing as I read their resume, and by the grace of God magically cause the job that we once needed filled to morph into one that perfectly fits their severely lacking background. Instead, it just ticks me off and causes me to want to write an email rejection email that says… *Actually… I just deleted my mock rejection email from this blog post for fear that it might actually cause me to lose my real-life, paying, day job.* I hope you understand.
I think the reason I get more irritated by the “Overly Honest Yet Utterly Under-Qualified” candidate is because I can’t give them the benefit of the doubt that I can give the people who try like crazy to sell themselves as being a fit for the position. I can’t assume that maybe they really did think they were qualified or just mis-understood the job description. I have to assume that they knew they weren’t qualified and that they figure it was okay to waste everyones time involved in the process. Every rant should have a point though so my point: a cover letter is meant to be a place to sell yourself and sometimes it’s better to leave honesty out of it – especially if the honest thing to say is that you’re not in any way qualified for the position you’re applying for.
Could someone out there please pass along this memo?
Is anyone else noticing this trend?
Marisa is a Culture Coach for small and quickly growing organizations trying to establish the infrastructure required to create a company full of passionate, motivated, and engaged employees. She has held culture and engagement roles for two nationally recognized great places to work, founded the research and networking group Culture Fanatics, and is an industry recognized blogger. She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband and twin boys and is looking forward to the day she can bike across the country to raise money for MS research. @marisakeegan.