If your job hunt has you feeling down, relax for a few minutes by checking out some funny cover letters. These funny cover letters, which we found online, were all used by real applicants. Reading them will not only amuse you, but remind you of the dangers of presenting irrelevant “experience,” wasting the hiring manager’s time with cutesy gimmicks, or attempting to use dark humor in what is supposed to be a professional correspondence.
Funny Cover Letter #1: Elementary School and Internet Accomplishments
This gem of a funny cover letter was first posted on the message board of the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club on April 10 of 2008. The user who submitted it, a regular, said their friend had just received it from someone applying for a business development associate position. Here is an excerpt:
I won 3 of my 4 elementary school spelling bees and it was here that I first made the newspaper with my picture. Years later, in the mid 1990s, my picture graced the papers many more times as an all-state and state champion runner. I am blessed by God.
In addition, my math skills are excellent and really consider myself a numbers guy. In elementary school, my flash cards multiplication skills set the standard for excellence. I have 3 semesters of calculus under my belt and was the co-captain of the calculus team.
My IQ is rated by tickle.com at 131.
You may be thinking that the author of this unintentionally funny cover letter was looking for a job while in middle school, but no. Apparently, on his resume, he said he had a Bachelor of Science.
Now, the grammatical errors are annoying and the reference to a religious belief is distracting, but the biggest problem is clearly that he is wasting the reader’s time by listing irrelevant experience. It is better to present a brief cover letter than a cover letter stuffed with fluff.
Funny Cover Letter #2: Even Santa Wouldn’t Hire This Elf
Our next funny cover letter-or cover poem, rather-comes from the marketing experts at Killian Branding. An applicant submitted this cover poem to them in what we can only guess was an attempt to be clever:
Twas 4 weeks after Christmas
And all throughout Killian and company
Human Relations pondered over
Who would be the next intern/employee?
The staff in their cubicles, all snug in their chairs
While visions of lunch in Chi-town were their only main cares
The big boss in his office, and me still at Miami
Both nervous and wondering: our hands remained clammy
When out in the mailroom there arose such a clatter
Employees from all over crowded to see what was the matter
Back in my apartment with a smile laid back
I knew once they’d opened my letter; there was no turning back
The sun on the streets of busy Windy City
Gave the luster of midday to 322 S. Green
When, what to their letter reading eyes should appear?
A girl with some spunk, and evidently no fear
As Ivory goes along with a substance called soap
Everyone looked at each other with a small gleam of hope
“It’s time to stop letting all the normal folk dance
And open our eyes, and give this chick a chance!”
That’s just an excerpt-the original is a full-length piece. Setting aside the fact that this applicant can’t write poetry, this gimmicky format is exactly the opposite of what a busy hiring manager needs to see. However, the worst thing about this cover letter is that it doesn’t speak to the company’s needs. After 180 words, the applicant still hasn’t given the hiring manager a single reason to hire her. No qualifications, experience, skills, or anticipated benefits to the employer are offered, unless “spunk” and lack of “fear” are somehow core job competencies.
As you can imagine, this poetess did not obtain the position for which she applied.
Funny Cover Letter #3: Fear and Loathing from Human Resources
This next excerpt comes from someone who actually did become a successful writer eventually. While this is an intentionally funny cover letter written by someone with a strong command of the English language, it’s still obviously ineffective:
I got a hell of a kick reading the piece Time magazine did this week on The Sun. In addition to wishing you the best of luck, I’d also like to offer my services.
Since I haven’t seen a copy of the “new” Sun yet, I’ll have to make this a tentative offer. I stepped into a dung-hole the last time I took a job with a paper I didn’t know anything about (see enclosed clippings) and I’m not quite ready to go charging up another blind alley.
By the time you get this letter, I’ll have gotten hold of some of the recent issues of The Sun. Unless it looks totally worthless, I’ll let my offer stand. And don’t think that my arrogance is unintentional: it’s just that I’d rather offend you now than after I started working for you.
I didn’t make myself clear to the last man I worked for until after I took the job. It was as if the Marquis de Sade had suddenly found himself working for Billy Graham. The man despised me, of course, and I had nothing but contempt for him and everything he stood for. If you asked him, he’d tell you that I’m “not very likable, (that I) hate people, (that I) just want to be left alone, and (that I) feel too superior to mingle with the average person.” (That’s a direct quote from a memo he sent to the publisher.)
Nothing beats having good references.
Of course if you asked some of the other people I’ve worked for, you’d get a different set of answers.
If you’re interested enough to answer this letter, I’ll be glad to furnish you with a list of references — including the lad I work for now.
The enclosed clippings should give you a rough idea of who I am. It’s a year old, however, and I’ve changed a bit since it was written. I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.
Most of my experience has been in sports writing, but I can write everything from warmongering propaganda to learned book reviews.
I can work 25 hours a day if necessary, live on any reasonable salary, and don’t give a black damn for job security, office politics, or adverse public relations.
If this sounds like an obnoxiously modern lack of respect for authority, keep in mind this cover letter was written in 1958. This person obviously did know how to attract attention through writing and could have used this talent to write an appealing cover letter instead of an inappropriately funny cover letter.
Again, putting aside the use of expletives and the tone, this cover letter does not speak to the employer’s needs. It is not until about 300 words in that the author starts explaining why he is qualified for the position, and even then, he says that the supporting evidence he’s enclosing is outdated. It is not until about 400 words in that he starts talking about what he can offer The Sun.
Of course, bad-mouthing one’s previous employer in a resume or cover letter is another big job hunting mistake, even if justified.
The author, by the way, was Hunter S. Thomspon, who later wrote the bestselling books Hell’s Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. He was never, however, hired by The Vancouver Sun.
The bottom line…
Your cover letter is supposed to be a concise business letter. You do not have time to list experiences or qualifications that have nothing to do with the position for which you are applying. You do not have time to be cute, clever, or gimmicky. Swagger will not compensate for a lack of substance. Human resources managers have seen all the funny cover letters imaginable already. They are much more likely to be impressed by a cover letter that dives in, presents the information they want to know, and ends on a professional note.