Unremediated Grammar

Published February 1, 2004

Attached to every résumé we get at our advertising agency is a cover letter. Despite the fact that these letters are usually written by college graduates or seniors in college, they regularly feature some of the most labored prose ever set to paper. An error-free letter is now so rare that the minimal care required to send a letter with zero defects, combined with a few crisply written simple declarative sentences, will, alone, guarantee a respectful reading of a résumé.

Listed below are examples of the most-tortured sentences gleaned from actual cover letters we have received, plus one request for information.

“I expect the position to pay commissary to that of its value, as well as to the performance completed.”

“It is my desire to develop and generate the revolving scheme to filter to the consuming public in.”

“Skills: Microst word, excel, and power point. Mulitaks person, public speaking, and surveying.”

“Chairwomen of Studnts Teaching Awareness and Responsibility organization”

“Objective: To work in a challenging environment that allows me to use my imaginatiation …”

“Education: ______ Collage, B.A. expected, June 2003.”

“Who’s better to spew out incite, than a college senior… ?”

“Hi! My name is ____, and I am a senior at ____ University. For my one Advertising class we are select and present an agency, within our groups, to the class in which we find interesting … Such information that I would need is 1) How your departments are broken down? 2) Who is the executives and how moving up the ladder is achieved?”

“[My] proven record of successful brand building … demonstrate[s] my ability to perform in a fast paced environment. Originally from Vietnam, I also offer expertise in the following areas: – Asian cuisine: I deliver Nem, in-box or out-of-the-box, – Traditional massage: I satisfy Client above their expectation, – Karaoke singing: but also a lot of listening, listening and listening to Client. Would you like to taste any of those, please feel free to contact me on my email address mentioned above.”

“I am a motivated, self-igniting person …”

“I would like to start learning from a pronoun company and I feel as if Killian & Co. Advertising will give me the opportunity I am looking for.”

“I need real world experience and after reviewing your web site I get the impressing that your company believes in maintain a lax work environment while efficiently meeting the needs of it’s customers (right?).”

When we suggested to this last applicant that he get some remedial help with his writing, since he had an error in every single sentence of his lengthy letter, he penned an angry reply that included the following:

“If your company takes such a serious position towards proper grammar then I think you guys are in the wrong profession … I am not precisely sure why you choose to take such a stance perhaps because you have nothing better to do, or maybe because you have personal insecurities that seep out and you feel the need to degrade or target others based on stupid little infractions to make yourself feel better … (I reread it before sending it and it states my point clearly and unless you lack the mental capacity to make out the meaning without having exact and precisise grammar maybe you should seek a new proffsion, I hear this country lacks a lot of grammar school teachers perhaps that would be a better fit for you) In conclusion I have indeed made many mistakes in this e-mail many on purpose and many accidentaly I did not have the time nor the patientce to deal with it I will leave the grammer checking to the professionals such as yourself.”

Bob Killian is president of Killian Advertising in Chicago. His email address is [email protected].

© 2002, Killian & Company Advertising

For more information …

Further examples of cover letter prose may be found in “Cover Letters from Hell” at the web site of Killian Advertising at http://www.killianadvertising.com/coverletters.html.