I have publicly lampooned bad cover letters written by young people. Such letters range, not too widely, from the impossibly callow—”I think outside of the box (without even realizing it)”—to the insanely overeager—”I’m wicked good at successfully multitasking.”
And I have been roundly excoriated by readers, many of whom see my attacks on these children as mean-spirited. In my own defense, I have wanted to say, “I criticize from a position of empathy! My post-college cover letters were also impossibly callow and insanely overeager!”
But no one would have ever believed that my letters were as silly as the ones I was lampooning. Maybe I wouldn’t have believed it myself.
Cleaning out my writing closet last week, I ran across a notebook containing the first drafts of cover letters I wrote, just out of college. (The final drafts were written on a Smith-Corona electric typewriter.)