I just received a resume and cover letter from a young attorney seeking employment in my firm. I honestly don’t notice things like spelling errors because I can’t spell myself, but I’m sure the letter and resume were flawless technically. I didn’t even read it that closely because the cover letter was addressed “Dear Sir or Madam:”
Here’s my response to the job seeker. Yes, I addressed it to him personally, but I’ll keep that private for his sake.
I recently received your resume & cover letter. While I’m not hiring right now, I thought I’d give you some feedback that might help in your approach.
1. Take the three minutes or so that it requires to research each firm to at least get a name to address your letter to someone. I don’t like being called “Dear Sir or Madam.” Especially when it would only take about 30 seconds to find my name online. This shows that you did NO research into my firm to see if you might be a fit for what we do. You are trying to push the match onto me. I don’t need you to make more work for me. I only hire people who make my life easier.
2. Your cover letter was all about you, and frankly, none of your experience has anything to do with my firm’s work. Again, if you had taken just a few minutes to search online, you would have found out what we do. Then you could make a decision. You could either write a cover letter that tells me how you’ll make my life easier, or you could save a stamp.
You have an interesting background – especially the National Outdoor Leadership School training. In Colorado, leading with that might be more effective than leading some of the legal experience you’ve had that really doesn’t translate to the local legal market.
I wish you the best in your job search.
Kevin E. Houchin, Esq.