By Scott Reeves of Forbes.com
NEW YORK - Here are the first three paragraphs from one of the worst cover letters ever:
I always dreamed of motivating a football crowd and bringing home a team victory. One evening late in my freshman year of high school, I had the chance to prove it. As I sat eagerly on the edge of my auditorium chair, I thought about winning. There were 108 young women competing for a spot on the [Central High] School varsity cheerleading squad. Only eight of us would win.
Four months later, I achieved my goal. Standing on the football field, I studied all the anxious faces peering down at me. My adrenaline flowed as I began cheering. Working the audience, I chanted spiritedly. My energy surged as the fans' enthusiasm accelerated. Minutes later, I had the crowd on their feet cheering the Eagles on to victory. In the end, the box score read Eagles 14, Wildcats 10. As a senior professional, I have spent 17 years motivating the crowd, inspiring wins and leading. My strongest assets include selling prospective clients, producing new company revenue, creating innovative market strategies and exceeding objectives.
The moral of this brilliant mix of pom-poms and capitalism: "Don't try to be cute," says Scott Simmons, vice president at Crist Associates in Chicago. "Maintain your focus--you're hunting for a job, not reliving your past."