My Break-Up Letter To The Cover Letter

Dear Cover Letter,

It has been great. We’ve had a lot of great years, a lot of great memories, reading you under those humming florescent lights, tucked away in my cubicle.

But I’m sorry. It is over. It just isn’t working out anymore.

It isn’t you. I swear. You’ve always been so polite, so chivalrous, so overtly formal. It is like you read an article on how to properly treat someone, which in retrospect, you probably did.

It just is there is someone else. I’m sorry. There are automated screening interviews now. And I’m sorry, they are just more real, more insightful, more alive.

You, I’d spend time with you, but I never even felt like I knew you. It felt like you were trying too hard, or you were changed based on some advice from your one friend with an English degree, or cut-and-pasted off the Internet.

And you take so much time. Do I really expect everyone to have one of you just to apply for a job? I mean, I hate to say this, but you can be such a hassle.

 These screening interviews, they aren’t perfect. There are errs and umms and all of that and sometimes the words don’t come out the way they do on the movies. But they always pull back all the layers and show the real person, and, at the end of the day, that’s what I really want.

It doesn’t even take any more time either, much less time than reading through all those cover letters. A few clicks and they are out, and it is all set.

I don’t want to keep going on and on, this has been hard enough. But, seriously, thank you for all the memories. I will never forget you.

Let’s try to be friends,


Views: 796

Comment by Linda Ferrante on June 18, 2014 at 3:46pm

It's sort of a bittersweet post, don't you think?  I love receiving cover letters that were hand crafted and specialized for the positions.  I welcomed those; relished them, in fact.  

I do realize, however, that sometimes we just grow apart and it's time to part ways.  It's still sad, and if you, Cover Letter, ever want to come back, I'd welcome you with open arms.  Just don't come in the form of a tweet or text, because that would just mean you never realized how important you really were......

Comment by Tim Spagnola on June 18, 2014 at 4:42pm

I love this post Paul. Honestly- I barely spend 6 seconds reviewing the CV, please don't ask my time allotment for reading one's cover letter. 

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on June 18, 2014 at 5:06pm

Paul, what's a "cover letter"?


Comment by Tim Spagnola on June 18, 2014 at 5:18pm

@ Keith - Exactly!

Comment by Keith D. Halperin on June 18, 2014 at 7:09pm

Thanks, Tim. With due respect to Linda, I never cared about receiving them, and I write them as a pro-forma duty- not as a chance to shine. However carefully and lovingly crafted, a cover letter is basically a way of saying:

"HIRE ME , M***********!"

Your Humble and Obedient Servant,


Comment by Linda Ferrante on June 18, 2014 at 8:58pm

Thanks, Keith.  To each his own, right?  Seriously though, I only really am referring to the ones that are handcrafted and personally designed.  Not the mass produced, generic garbage that people put out without even spell checking them, or changing the generic salutation.  Sometimes personalities can really shine through in a personalized cover letter.  Those, I will miss.

Comment by Stephanie McDonald on June 19, 2014 at 10:21am

I love cover letters. I'm not afraid to say it. 

OK, I'm a little afraid, but that's okay.

I had this conversation with the Animal via Twitter a few weeks ago. I still stand by my statement that the candidates who don't bother with it are highly likely to be unqualified, in my experience. I'm not looking for War and Peace, just help me understand what you want this job. It's not rocket science, unless it's a NASA gig...

Comment by Paul Petrone on June 19, 2014 at 1:56pm

Here's my main problem with them Stephanie, because I agree with most of what your saying.

The main problem is it disincentives people to apply. I think the early stages of building an applicant pool should be to get as many people as possible. Then, you can start narrowing them down based off their resume and all the software out there. 

But requiring it, I believe, stops some of the best people from applying.

Comment by Ben Slater on June 19, 2014 at 1:59pm

I like this Paul, very reminiscent of Zappos' recent letter 'breaking up' with job applications. Really worth a read if you haven't seen it.

Comment by Keith Halperin on June 19, 2014 at 2:03pm

@ Linda, Stephanie: To each her/his own.

For me as a recruiter, they're a waste of time and at best contribute nothing special, and at worst knock out the person (for reasons such as you gave).



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