Bad Cover Letter Example

To warm everyone up on the Cover Letter Contest I though I would give you an example of a bad cover letter. So that you know what not to do when applying for a job.

555 interview road
any town, mn 55111


Mr. John adams
Wellington Corporation
333 Well road
Tampa, Fl 22244

Dear John,

Iam writing to you to ask you for a job. There are many reasons you should consider me for this pistion. I think you would be a fool not to hire me.

I have attend Elite college since 1995 and have a masters in computers. I am on the deans list and have an A average grade. I am also part of our local church group. We help out with conseling many of the students here at the college.

My source tells me that you are looking for a salesman. While I have no sales experience per say. I am a hard worker and would like to start my career at your company. This will be a nice stepping stone for me. I currently would like to work with computer but I think this would suit me fine for now.

I am currently working at my local church while I finish up scholl. We help counsel students at the local colleges. It doesn’t pay much so I am having to look elsewhere. I have to yrs experience with doing this and work well with people. I know your customers will love me, most people do.

I will be anxiously waiting to hear from you on when I can start. Please call anytime. If I am busy please leave a message on my voice mail and I will get back to you at my earliest convience.

Thank you,
Joe Johnson

The problems on this cover letter are hopefully obvious. Do you notice any?

  1. How would you like this employer to contact you? There is no phone number.
  2. Write out your address
  3. Write you name above your address
  4. Write you phone numbers below your address: this makes it simple for them to find if they want to call you
  5. Never call someone by his or her first name on a resume. This is not a personal letter. Keep it professional.
  6. Don’t sound desperate.
  7. Don’t insult them.
  8. Don’t mention religious groups unless applying for a religious job.
  9. Check your grammar.
  10. Check your spelling.
  11. Don’t use abbreviations. Spell words out
  12. Do not inform them that you are only planning to be there for a short time this doesn’t look good for you.
  13. They really don’t care why you decided to look for a new job. Unless they ask you this during an interview don’t give this information out.
  14. Don’t make yourself seem too busy to deal with them. You need to be convenient for them not the other way around.
  15. Don’t sound like your being egotistic.

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If you need some help with your cover letter check out some of our past blogs.

How to Clinch a Killer Resume Cover Letter

5 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

5 Parts to a Cover Letter

Cover Letter

Truly terrible cover letters may give employers a laugh before they’re tossed into the recycle bin. They also may make employers shrug in confusion, roll their eyes, or even get angry. But the truth is, truly terrible cover letters are actually very rare. Most candidates don’t need to read an internet article or pay for expensive career counseling services in order to be told not to use swear words in a job application. A far greater problem—and a more realistic obstacle for most job seekers—is a cover letter that’s not terrible, just mediocre.

A dull, predictable, risk-free cover letter that aims for the middle of the pack is far more likely to hold back your search than a letter that’s epically bad.  And this tends to hold true regardless of your industry or the level of your target position. If you take a close look at most ineffective cover letters (in other words, all the runners who tied for second place after the front runner landed the job), these are a few of the qualities you’ll find.

1. They start with an overworked first sentence.

Too many job seekers try to pack everything they have to say into the first sentence of their cover letter. They’re trying to be hard-hitting and send an upfront message, but they end up combining too many points into one convoluted mess. Mediocre first sentences sound like this:

  • “I’m a highly motivated, exceptionally talented marketing manager with five years of experience at a globally recognized agency in a fast-paced position looking for an opportunity where my skills will shine.”
  • “I saw your ad on LiveCareer for a talented associate manager and as I’ve been looking for a position where I can use my communication skill, leadership experience, and industry knowledge to make a difference for a growing company, I would like to apply for the position and hope you’ll consider my resume.”

Just state the title of the position you’d like to apply for and mention where you found the post. Then take a breath and move on from there.

2. They blast the reader with fluff instead of substance.

In an attempt to use industry jargon and identify themselves as “insiders,” mediocre cover letter writers go too far. They shoehorn industry terms into sentences when they shouldn’t, and they use buzzwords and phrases that aren’t essential to the primary message.

If you really know what you’re talking about, and you really understand the subsector of the industry that you’d like to occupy, this will make itself known as you write. Don’t force anything. Just explain what you’ve accomplished in the past and how these accomplishments will support your target employer if you’re hired.

3. They don’t know when to end.

Mediocre cover letters are like people at a party with poor conversational skills: They don’t know when to close the deal, say goodbye, and stop talking. Say what you need to say in one page or fewer, and watch out for side trips into irrelevant information.

4. They don’t know how to ask for what they want.

Keep your final message smooth, not awkward, and let readers know what you’d like them to do next. Instead of pleas and commands, use graceful words like “invite” and “encourage,” as in “I invite you to look over my credentials,” and “I welcome an opportunity to speak with you in person about the position.”

Strong Cover Letters Leave a Lasting Impression

Think of your cover letter as your agent or ambassador: It can gain entry into places where you can’t—like a hiring manager’s office. And it can reach people who you aren’t able to approach directly. Make sure it speaks clearly, looks professional, and represents you well. Use LiveCareer’s Cover Letter Builder to create a letter that will stand out and make you proud. 


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