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"That I offer my services at all, you may take as a complement..."
September 28, 2006 12:33 PM   Subscribe

"I am getting to my goal, slowly but surly." Cover letters from Hell.
posted by Iridic (52 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Pepsi Strunk and White?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:49 PM on September 28, 2006


Absolutely hilarious - though I couldn't escape the sneaking suspicion that many of these were written by individuals who are non-native English speakers...
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:51 PM on September 28, 2006


This is funny. My favorite:

"... But that's the past. I've given them a year of my life in a minimum security work camp and I'm nearing work release status where I'll be for the next 15 months or so... I need to connect with open-minded people like myself! My crime was a 'non-violent, victimless' one. I'm hoping this letter is reaching people who have or do smoke weed ..."
posted by brain_drain at 12:52 PM on September 28, 2006


Metafilter: It is our desire to develop and generate the revolving scheme to filter to the consuming public in."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:53 PM on September 28, 2006


I worked in a position where I had to read close to a thousand cover letters each year. Ironically, that was the most entertaining part of my job.
posted by jrb223 at 12:55 PM on September 28, 2006


jrb223, that sounds like a good opening for your own cover letter.
posted by forblaga at 12:56 PM on September 28, 2006


The excerpts from the letters were funny on their own. The 3rd-party snark was weak at best.
posted by ninjew at 12:56 PM on September 28, 2006


Hey! I am also looking for a new position since I just got laid! Please don't say Goat on A Cliff. I'm bored with that one. IN MY FUKING (sorry) COUNTRY IT IS UNREAL TO DO OWN POSITIONS!
posted by spicynuts at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2006


On the one hand, some are funny. On the other, I think it's an asshole move to publish excerpts of someone's resume and make fun of it after they've submitted it to you in hopes of getting a job. While it's not as exploitive as something like Bumfights or that guy that posted the responses to his fake Craigslist personal, it's a few steps in that direction.
posted by MegoSteve at 1:02 PM on September 28, 2006


Ahh .. that was a good laugh. Thanks for the afternoon pick me up.
posted by thekilgore at 1:05 PM on September 28, 2006


Another take on cover letters (most likely previously posted).
posted by anotherbrick at 1:09 PM on September 28, 2006


This site looks great, but anybody else have the problem that it's not actually linked here or in the google search results? I'd hate to start a metatalk just for an errant greasemonkey script.
posted by Brainy at 1:17 PM on September 28, 2006


... adn among my best traits is teh fact that I am veyr detali orientatted.
posted by psmealey at 1:26 PM on September 28, 2006


From "How can you be sure your advertising is wasting only half your money?":

How do you know you're not throwing away 2/3 of your advertising? Or 3/4? Or some frightening fraction even higher? Can you even be sure that next year's ad campaign, sitting there waiting for your approval, won't slither into the black hole of forgotten messages, sucking your budget in behind it?

Want to be sure? Want to be absolutely sure? Then you should consider another career, like, say, Fox News talking-head political pundit, where absolute certainty seems to go with the job, along with a sincere frowny-face, hairspray, and the willingness to regurgitate the obvious and/or inflammatory in shouted sound bites.


Hey, I'm starting to like these guys already. They do a pretty good job advertising themselves!
posted by clevershark at 1:34 PM on September 28, 2006


Funny!
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:36 PM on September 28, 2006


It'd be hard to beat this one: "I also have a degree English which serves me well in editing text for poor grammer or typos."

Hir spehl-tchaiking skilz r laking.
posted by clevershark at 1:36 PM on September 28, 2006


I'm hoping this letter is reaching people who have or do smoke weed

I'm adding that to all my cover letters from now on.

[Insert standard LH snark about Strunk & White.]
posted by languagehat at 1:42 PM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


"May I ask you for spending a little moment in looking at some of my interesting facts?"

Aw... I like that one.
posted by iconomy at 1:59 PM on September 28, 2006


Doesn't anybody read Strunk and White in school any more?

Nice quaint question, but the answer is emphatically no.
posted by blucevalo at 2:07 PM on September 28, 2006


haha these are funny.

Who's better to spew out incite, than a college senior ... ?
posted by dminor at 2:08 PM on September 28, 2006


"I need real world experience and after reviewing your web site I get the impressing that your company believes in maintain a lax work environment while efficiently meeting the needs of it's customers (right?)."
[We replied to this college senior, on an ill-advised rescue impulse, suggesting he get some remedial help with his writing, since he had an error in every single sentence of his three-page letter. His furious four-page reply included some amazing stuff, such as]

"...you should be straight forward and ... simply state that your company is seeking a grammar teacher who lacks creativity but knows how to properly write a letter and knows exactly where to place punctuation. If your company takes such a serious position towards proper grammar then I think you guys are in the wrong profession. I believe even the leader of this country that we live in lacks proper grammar yet he is still our leader. I can assure you that he leaves grammar and punctuation to the proper authorities such as his receptionist or grade school English teacher."


This conforms so many of my fears. Yikes.
posted by piratebowling at 2:14 PM on September 28, 2006


piratebowling: your comment amuses and terrifies.
posted by boo_radley at 2:16 PM on September 28, 2006


I'm certainly no pro when it comes to grammar, but the very first sentence on the webpage reads really awkward to me:

Along with every résumé we get is a cover letter.

I'll defer to the grammar experts...is this one of those sentences that is technically correct but sounds wrong nomatter how many times I say it to myself?
posted by chococat at 2:18 PM on September 28, 2006


Teehee... I feel sort of sorry for some of them, but man some are just so funny...
"I am a motivated, self-igniting person who greatly entertains the challenges of bettering myself and the performance of work that I do."

"So, tell me, where do you see yourself in 10 years?"

Peter: Don't say doin' your wife. Don't say doin' your wife. Don't say doin' your wife.
"Doin' your ... son?"

...
posted by Stauf at 2:20 PM on September 28, 2006


AH! It's spreading.

Sorry boo_radley. Confirms fears.
posted by piratebowling at 2:22 PM on September 28, 2006


Oh Lord, this takes me back to my days as a department head. Bad resumes and cover letters were topped only by horrible interviews and the fashions worn by the interviewees. Hearing them talk as badly as they wrote was painful, particularly as I was trying to hire writers.

On a brighter note, my seventh-grade son's writing class uses only one text: Strunk and White.

"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."
posted by Bitstop at 2:23 PM on September 28, 2006


Slowly But Surly would make a great name for a band or an album title.
posted by jonp72 at 2:27 PM on September 28, 2006


"May I ask you for spending a little moment in looking at some of my interesting facts?"

Bad for a cover letter, but it would definitely work on me as a pick-up line.
posted by jonp72 at 2:30 PM on September 28, 2006


Reading cover letters can't possibly be as bad as reading college admissions essays.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 2:37 PM on September 28, 2006


I really thought that these were going to be purported cover letters of the Underworld, via a McSweeneylike style of delivery, and the post itself referred to a letter that Sisyphus would send out, neatly stapled to his resume, that turned his doomed perserverance into a positive attribute. I was looking forward to reading other cover letters written by current residents of Hell.

As it is...well, I am a smidge disappointed.
posted by redsparkler at 2:45 PM on September 28, 2006


i used to typeset resumes 25 years ago ... this does not surprise me ... in fact, i'm sure it's worse

just remember one thing ... these people all get jobs somewhere ... and no, i'm not talking about mcdonald's either ... i mean jobs they actually want

you should see our company memos ...
posted by pyramid termite at 2:48 PM on September 28, 2006


Let me guess: lots of ellipses?
posted by mr_roboto at 3:03 PM on September 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


At one place I worked we used to get a lot of resumes from people in other courntires looking for internships in the US. For those who don't know, for some reason people in other countries include photos when applying for jobs, hence: intern-national!
posted by snofoam at 3:04 PM on September 28, 2006


Dude, you may laugh, but do you know how much a career in Hoarding pays? Them Hoarding muthafuckas are always tool'n about my block with their latest Safeway carts and 20-socks-for-a-dollar bags just show'n off without a care* in the world!

* besides the obsessive-compulsive need to collect Saltine crackers, water bottles, and cans of after-market soup.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:02 PM on September 28, 2006


"I also want to obtain a deeper understanding of how Advertising firms."
posted by cortex at 4:57 PM on September 28, 2006


My sockpuppet is going to be named slowlybutsurly.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 4:59 PM on September 28, 2006


On a brighter note, my seventh-grade son's writing class uses only one text: Strunk and White.

Sorry to hear that. You might want to transfer him to a school where he'll get an education.
posted by languagehat at 5:05 PM on September 28, 2006


Oh god . . . I might as well be one of those cover letter writers. I can't write a good cover letter to save my life. And when I do write one, it turns into an akward winding autobiographical cluster fuck.
You know those local car dealer commercials; the ones that make you wince every time you see them? Yeah, that's about as bad as my cover letters.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 5:28 PM on September 28, 2006


Piratebowling, when I read the letter arguing that even the President uses poor grammar, I immediately flashed on the agruments everyone was making a decade back about how kids would follow Clinton's example and think it was OK to have oral sex.

I miss the 90's.
posted by kyrademon at 6:15 PM on September 28, 2006


Languagehat, I edited a book recently, and had to sit down and explain to the authors that a style guide is not, in fact, a holy book of universal truths, but a set of suggestions designed to keep usage consistent throughout a single text. They were ... shocked. Sigh.
posted by kyrademon at 6:17 PM on September 28, 2006


- Traditional massage: I satisfy Client above their expectation,

I'd hire this person
posted by Deep Dish at 6:17 PM on September 28, 2006


Excellent! A new response to people who snark about typos:

"...you should be straight forward and ... simply state that your [weblog of pussies] is seeking a grammar teacher who lacks creativity but knows how to properly write a [comment] and knows exactly where to place punctuation. If your [pussy community] takes such a serious position towards proper grammar then I think you guys are in the wrong profession. I believe even the leader of this country that we live in lacks proper grammar yet he is still our leader. I can assure you that he leaves grammar and punctuation to the proper authorities such as his receptionist or grade school English teacher. ...I am not precisely sure why you choose to take such a stance perhaps because you have nothing better to do, or maybe because you have personal insecurities that seep out and you feel the need to degrade or target others based on stupid little infractions to make yourself feel better, I don't know what the case is ... if I am out of line please let me know but if I recall properly your [pussy] web site is not the most professional site there is. If you guys are trying to project a laid back [and not] hard working image through your site and request the same from prospective [posters] then you should not be so prudent about minor infractions such as punctuation and grammar.... (I reread it before sending it and it states my point clearly and unless you lack the mental capacity to make out the meaning without having exact and precisise grammar maybe you should seek a new proffsion, I hear this country lacks alot of grammar school teachers perhaps that would be a better fit for you) In conclusion I have indeed made many mistakes in this [comment] many on purpose and many accidentaly I did not have the time nor the patientce to deal with it I will leave the grammer checking to the professionals such as [languagehat]"
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:10 PM on September 28, 2006


Here's an actual quote from a cover letter that I received a few months ago...
"I love to read. If I could read 24 hours a day, I would do it! LOL!"
posted by bradth27 at 7:44 PM on September 28, 2006


A hoarding is just a billboard, in Commonwealth English speaking countries.

Thanks, Iridic. I had a good laugh at these. Unfortunately, I've heard that grammar and spelling rant, all too many times. I'm sorry, but it isn't my job to parse your creativity.
posted by QIbHom at 7:57 PM on September 28, 2006


I had a laugh at these, too. One of the funniest temp jobs I ever had was working in the corporate office of a major catalog retailer where my main duty was to field customer complaints and letters and to write (more like assemble) official company replies. A sizeable percentage of the missives of the angora sweater-buying public that year were unintentionally hilarious. There was the new bride, crazy about our thirsty towels, who pronounced "cabernet" as "crab meat.” There was the outraged lady absolutely apoplectic over our company’s glorification of O.J. Simpson by marketing a plush, baby toy truck that she was convinced depicted the then-Defendant’s infamous “slow chase” Bronco, (this was 1994) “AND FOR BABIES, EVEN!” I can still hear her wail. And then there was my favorite, the man who wrote us a fan letter, perhaps while masturbating, to rave about our use of freckled models on pages x and y and z, because, as he explained in urgent cursive, freckled women were extremely erotic to him and precious few catalogs featured the freckled skin that he craved, etc., etc., and I do mean etc.

But as much as I enjoyed reading Killian’s reject files, I have to agree with MegoSteve that there’s something off-putting—a whiff of viciousness?-- about Killian’s publication of the letters. That they do so makes me less inclined to admire them as a company, even while I agree that many job applicants are lazy idiots. Something Killian might also consider is that one of these mocked applicants could sue them for copyright infringement.
posted by applemeat at 11:12 PM on September 28, 2006


Best cover letter ever:

To: Human resources, The University of Victoria
Re: Linguistics Professor


I am applying to the position for university linguistics professor with your university, because while my love is language, it is also worth noting that language's love is me, for real, and it isn't as strange as it sounds because I think you will agree that while the verb love requires an agent of a living nature, language fills that requirement nicely � living as it does in the hearts and souls of every man, woman, child, and seeing eye dog that wanders this earth with a song in masculine, feminine, or neuter's possessive pronoun's heart and mind, and I feel that working in your university program, teaching undergrads and graduate students would not be the hell that this description evokes, but instead an opportunity to teach a love of language to a world that has decided to hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate, and hey, have you ever stopped to think that explicity is a much nicer word than explicitness on all fronts, at every border, in every way I feel this is true, and because I sat down to write them out, about a dozen times each, I feel I can speak with authority, using definiteness, definity, and seriously �it's just nicer I think, spiritually, though I'm still working on this study to try and prove it through polling of students at my current university, even though they just sort of stare at me all slack jawed, drool making the mad dash for a pavement that couldn't help but offer more in the way of intellectual stimulation than the chasm that is the modern undergraduate mind, that couldn't help but challenge the drool in a way that no English composition course could hope to, not in a world where universities are just as willing to hire professors who prescribe standard grammars as truer languages as they are to grant doctorates to such nincompoops with nonsense in their heads, no hearts in their chests, making me wonder about, well, don't think I haven't noticed that explicity has that little red underline in my word processor, my computer's way of endorsing those effers and their effing prescriptions, their nasal voices preaching "no prepositions at the ends of sentences, unless you have to, no split infinitives, no run on whatever, no this, no that," and I sincerely believe that they've cheated on their significant others, like I bet they've heard someone say something hateful toward the speech patterns of foreigners just learning English, and laughed, like I bet they've used the word "ebonics" knowing full well the condescending, racist nature of the word itself, relishing that root, "ebony", smiling at their coworkers from the African studies department in the hall, all the while having to consciously refrain from asking "what is it that be the up?" in perfect imitation of the phonetic transcripts they've been reading about in little journals, hate rags, and maybe they've picked up on the careful lexical selections in my anonymous letters, in the casual threats I leave on their answering machines, and no I can't promise that I won't physically attack these people if you hire me, but I can promise you this, I will be the best linguistics professor you've ever had, the professor that students recommend to one another, the new hotness, the rad, and in dark corners my colleagues over in the department of "Standard English is the one true lord," will fear the truth I bring to their students, my anger, my explicity.

Joey Comeau
posted by languagehat at 5:16 AM on September 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


languagehat writes "Re: Linguistics Professor"

Man. That sums up what I think someone on meth would write as a cover letter...
posted by clevershark at 7:36 AM on September 29, 2006


Blimey, languagehat. I wouldn't trust that guy to cook my fries.
posted by QIbHom at 7:36 AM on September 29, 2006


Am I the only person who finds it tacky of Killian & Co. to post these letters on the internet? I mean, I know they are THEIR letters to do with as they please, but still, it seems like bad taste. I wouldn't want to do business with a company that publicly mocks their job applicants.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 7:51 AM on September 29, 2006


I'm usually the sort who's doesn't like schaedenfreud and is very sensitive to the embarassment of others, but I found that pretty damn funny.

I don't really think it's in bad taste to post them. It's anonymous, and if any of those poor souls hope of getting a job, hopefully they'll find that site and develop a bit of perspective. (or writing ability)
posted by Alex404 at 9:13 AM on September 29, 2006


Very funny, although, yeah, that much sneering is not quite nice.
posted by JanetLand at 11:28 AM on September 29, 2006


Oh, wow, languagehat, thanks for linking that. Last time I looked at Overqualified he had stopped writing them after that one incident with the police or whatever but I guess he started again. Awesome.
posted by revfitz at 9:13 PM on September 30, 2006


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