What NOT to put in a Cover Letter/Resume
I received a cover letter, resume, and some other related collateral (a supposed 'research' report) relatively recently from a cold-emailer that I thought was worth highlighting, because it has some prime examples of what not to say/write to anyone ever. I'll post some excerpts below that will preserve the anonymity of the applicant:
"I realize my professional experience is more in technology, and lacks in finance. I believe that was just bad luck due to graduating from my MBA program at the height of the "Great Recession", however, I am 100% committed and motivated to prove myself in a finance position."
Bad luck? No, it's the shitty and difficult to read resume, cover letter, and 'research reports' which are the issue. I'm almost certain you would be a terrible employee just by the quality of the work you sent me in a cold-email. You graduated from college 10 years ago, by the way. I remember at least a few of those as being pretty good years. If you were halfway decent, you could have squeaked in the industry in more than a few of those years. Please do not pin all of your circumstance on luck, especially in a cover letter. Even if the reader is a big believer in luck, you're telling him you're unlucky. Who wants to hire someone who's unlucky? It seems the bad luck streak started in utero, if you ask me.
Revealing your ignorance
Even worse than just plain ignorance, the below quote was from an attached research report that this guy wrote. Since he thought it was worth including, I assume the report was something he was proud of, but it was cringe-worthy.
"I am placing a STRONG BUY recommendation on [company]. ("ticker") and believe that [the company], at the current price of $10.00, trades at a 123% discount to my estimated fair market value of $22.30" (both made up numbers to scale to the actual numbers listed in the 'report').
123% discount? C'mon man. Don't you think about the stuff you write before you blast it out to hundreds of potential employers? Anyone that reads it will certainly never hire you.
The report should have never been attached. It made a weak applicant look even worse. He's clearly never done anything but 'book learn' on these subjects and it's painfully obvious by reading the report. He uses 4 valuation methodologies on the stock with the sole intention of showing that he knows more than one valuation method. If you're thinking of including a research report on a company when you're cold-emailing people, it's a high risk strategy. Your research probably sucks unless you've been doing so professionally. If there is any doubt at all about including a 'research report', do not do it.
(side note: the research report had a lot of opinions and not a lot of facts and it lacked connections between really basic facts about the current state of the business to the 'projections'.)
"Dear Hiring Manager,
I am an inquisitive mind that loves to use this innate trait towards evaluating the economy, markets, and stocks. Those skills are collecting data, and analyzing the data."
Face palm. This is how the cover letter starts. So much is wrong with this, I hope it does not require an explanation.
"computer skills" is mentioned in both the resume and cover letter. In general, if you are listing "computer skills" as one of your strengths, it probably isn't. You should probably be more specific or focus on something else.
"CORE COMPETANCIES" -- Listed as a major category on the resume. If your "computer skills" are so strong, you should probably know how to use spell check.
John Public, MBA"
You're not a medical doctor, you do not put "MBA" in your god damned signature. Seriously, wtf is wrong with you?