A résumé lists a person’s accomplishments; it gives the facts. The cover letter shapes those accomplishments into a narrative; it tells a story.
Yet cover letters are so often dull. As Max Fisher put it in The Atlantic Wire: “Most people try to be as polite and flattering as possible when writing a prospective employer to ask for a job. It’s really the only medium where being obsequious is seen as a virtue.”
The authors of the following cover letters were anything but obsequious. They were emotive, compelling, offensive, and innovative. Not all of them are imitable, but they do offer inspiration—or a cautionary tale.
1. Good grammar be damned—this guy is stronger than a bear.
A South Korean job candidate’s cover letter—which went viral after appearing on Reddit last month—was hailed for its passion and bravado. The language was terrible. “Please feel me,” the non-native English speaker writes at one point.
The language didn’t matter, because this dude is stronger than a bear, faster than a train, and has experience working in a factory, a hotel, a farm, and a restaurant. Here’s an excerpt from his cover letter: