I hope not.
I’ve recently posted an internship position. I’m looking for someone with some experience (so they have a rough idea what is going on), but not too much (so they become opinionated and arrogant). Someone who’s dependable and resourceful. I’m looking for someone who will take direction without needing to hold my hand. Sound familiar? Everyone who’s hiring an intern is looking for this person.
I’m looking primarily for someone with a bit of humility, and someone who knows the game of job hunting and knows how to play it. I want this because it shows me that the candidate understands the value of convention and process.
This morning, I received the following cover letter from a would-be candidate. I’ve changed his name to protect his identity. But I want his mistakes to serve as a lesson to all of you who are looking for internships. This guy has just graduated from college, and in my opinion, he hasn’t earned the right to be so informal. If you want to stand out and be different, then work on the quality of your writing, work on your spelling and usage. Above all, don’t try to be cute.
Read his letter, and don’t write anything like it. (Note: The only words I have changed are the author’s name. The rest is posted here exactly as written by the candidate.)
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Jonny Callison and I am your man. With the utmost confidence I can guarantee amongst the sea of applicants you may be receiving, none have the personal drive that I myself hold. I have a personal record of obtaining the job I want after every interview I have had. You see, once you meet me face to face, it’s hard to deny my enthusiasm for learning the ins and outs of the company. I am a fresh out of college kid who is ready to be molded and sculpted to perform any task at hand.
I have worked several retail possessions in the past which have taught me a great deal about multitasking, handling extremely stressful situations all while holding on to my patented smile. The area that I most excel in is small group interactions. I tend to take charge in situations to lead successful discussions. My years studying communications have taught me a great deal how to react to any communication situation, getting those who would feel otherwise uncomfortable in interactions to speak their valid opinions. I know how to motivate everyone around me and I know how to ask questions. It seems to me that in today’s world, people in general have become too proud to admit they need help. If I am unsure of a point, I will ask for help.
I have perfect attendance with showing up to work on time, because my work ethic has taught me when you have a responsibility, your personal life goes out the door. When there is a task at hand, you complete that task as soon as possible. On top of all these personal attributes, I am an extremely fun person to have around. Despite my own horn tooting this letter has been, I am a very modest person with a terrific sense of humor. People love to work with me, because I am able to maintain a positive, fun nature about me without affecting my professionalism. I am the best worker you will ever come across, and I have a list of references that would easily back up this statement. All that I need from you now is a chance. Once I’m in the door, you will see how true these points are. You needn’t look any further, you’ve found Jon Callison.