We recently posted a job advert online (we’re looking for a junior account executive). The ad stated our requirements: a passion for PR and communications, a bubbly and enthusiastic personality, and exceptional language and writing skills.
We received a substantial number of applications, the majority of which were from English and journalism graduates. The team and I were understandably excited…until we read the first cover letter.
“Dearest sir or Madam [sic], (it read),
I am wishing to apply for the exquisite role of Junior Account Executive, as per the advertisement you have posted on the internet. I have all the necessary attributes you require and far more, and would be an asett [sic] to your team. I am a newly-qualified graduate with outstanding literary [sic] skills and am passionate about story telling. My CV is rightly enclosed for your perusal and convenience.
Yours sincerely [sic], XXXXXXX XXX.”
Another email read:
“Hello Team Palamedes!
I was surfing the web and stumbled across your advert. I was gobsmacked because I had been searching for a job in PR that evening! It was a calling! So! Here’s my cover email that you request and my CV is attached.
Let me know!
And here’s another:
I have what it takes to become a Junior Account Executive. I have a degree in English literature, have superb English skills, and am a team player.
My contact details are on my CV. Please contact me shortly as I have applied for several other positions, too.
X XXXX XXXXXXX”
And so it went on. Incredibly, two were addressed to persons unknown and another contained the name of another PR agency. We weren’t asking for, or expecting, perfection but no one likes sloppy applications (or, worse, sloppy seconds), especially from folk who graduated with a first in journalism.
So if you’re looking for a job in PR or journalism, here’s what to avoid. Our Top 10 PR CV fails, based upon real applications, are:
10. Dear Sir or Madam/To Whom it May Concern/Dear Company Name. If it’s not posted on the ad, which is unlikely, take the time to find out who to contact.
9. Hello!/Hi!/Hi There! This isn’t Facebook and we’re not your pen pal. Grow up.
8. I have exceptionnal English skills…
7. Other relevant qualifications to this position include lifeguarding (I react quickly to a crisis) and Grade 5 piano
6. English is not my first language, yet however and but I have mastered it really quite superbly, as you will agree…
5. Any sentence ending in an !
4. I would like to apply for the position at [Competitor] PR/I have been following [Competitor] PR closely and am delighted to apply for the position…
3. Yours Faithfully/Yours Sincerely. There’s a difference – learn it
2. My mobile phone is currently disconnected so I won’t be able to call you straight back. Can I please ask you to text me on this number if I’m selected instead?
1. This is my cover letter. My CV is attached. Please contact me on XXXX XXXXXXX to discuss if you think it’s necessary…