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Jewish World Review March 14, 2001 / 19 Adar, 5761

Resumania by Max Messmer

Max Messmer
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Consumer Reports

What not to say when applying for a job -- FROM a cover letter: "I seek challenges that test my mind as well as my body, since the two are usually inseparable."


A great resume can be undermined by an ineffective cover letter. It seems many job seekers forget the cover letter is the first thing a potential employer reads. It should be brief, informative and contain compelling reasons why the hiring manager should consider you for the position. What it should not do is prompt the hiring authority to file your resume under the heading, "Resumania."

Here are some examples of what not to say when applying for a job:

From another cover letter: "In my eagerness to launch a personal marketing campaign about my skills, I lied on my resume."

Truth in advertising?

And from still another: "I currently work the night shift and am interested in a position that allows me to come out during the day."

Should we stock up on garlic?

"I am writing to you to enhance my writing skills for any position you might offer me."

They say practice makes perfect.

"Although my name is Samuel, I prefer to be called Michael, or Mike. I do not go by the name Sam. My nickname is Rooster."

Exactly who would be arriving for the interview?

"I am writing you in the hope you can help me find a job in which I can combine my accounting and French culinary skills."

That certainly narrows the field.

"Dear Sir/Madam: I have a funny feeling the attached resume is the one you've been waiting for."

Thanks for letting us know.

"Dear Sir/Madam: The attached resume can't possibly give you an accurate indication of how much I know. The fact is, I know so much I don't know what I know."

We knew that.

Max Messmer is chairman and CEO of Robert Half International Inc., a specialized staffing firm, and author of Job Hunting for Dummies. Comment by clicking here.


03/05/01: Be smart on the job objective
02/21/01: Corporate warriors
02/14/01: Make sure resume reflects what you actually mean
01/24/01: Don't criticize former boss on resume
01/22/01: Resume bloopers

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