It takes a lot to get noticed in this town, but there's a right way and a wrong way to do it.
An NYU undergraduate student named Mark has become the laughing stock of Wall Street after his awful cover letter to JPMorgan made its rounds among NYU Stern alumni, the financial district, and then went viral online.
A cover letter can make or break you in the job hunting game and Mark's letter is a lesson in exactly what not to do.
By boasting that he "managed to bench double [his] body weight and do 35 pull ups" while achieving a 3.93 GPA, young Mark invited the inevitable comparisons to the infamous Aleksey Vayner.
There's a fine line between convincing your potential employeer of why they need to hire you, and only you, and coming across as a pompous ass.
There is no doubt Mark's status as a triple major in Mathematics, Economics and Computer Science is impressive on its own, but throw in the fact that he held two part-time jobs, placed-out of two classes and managed to keep himself in top physical shape, and it's safe to say he crossed the line.
Mark's cover letter also could have used an edit from an English major, who might have advised him to find a different way to express that he "can perform basic office functions with terrifying efficiency."
He ended the letter with a disclaimer asking JPMorgan to "Please realize that I am not a braggart or conceited, I just wanted to outline my usefulness. Egos can be a huge liability, and I try not to have one."
It's a letter so obnoxious that it's unclear if Mark sent it as a joke.
According to Gawker, Mark is well aware of the bit of laughter he brought to the bankers on Wall Street. When asked if he'd gotten a job at JPMorgan, he laughed, telling the website, "No, not at all. Didn't you see my letter?"
Joke or not, Mark is not alone when it comes to terrible cover letters. An applicant for a position as an API Engineer in New York City recently wrote:
"I'm super awesome and have incredible experience compared to this -- it includes the required experiences below plus I am trained in MMA fighting, am the mayor of multiple Chipotles, Starbucks, and locally famous restaurants in downtown NYC, and I type really fast."
And we can't forget Roanald Dvorak's cover letter for a office manager position, where he wrote: "Forget all the other candidates for Aviary, I am the BEST," and listed his skills in bullet points: "Organizing shit? Check. Calling numbers and shit? Doublecheck. Customer support and shit? Mega-check. Faxing numbers and shit? MOTHERFLIPPING CHECK ALL OVER THAT."
At a time when even the most qualified applicants can't find jobs, it's questionable if sending over-the-top or ironic cover letters is a good idea -- especially given the fact that there's no expectation of privacy.
Last year, Business Insider even posted 12 of the worst cover letters they received, redacting the names to provide some protection for those who made the list.
READ THE COVER LETTER:
Dear Sir or Madame:
I am an ambitious undergraduate at NYU triple majoring in Mathematics, Economics, and Computer Science. I am a punctual, personable, and shrewd individual, yet I have a quality which I pride myself on more than any of these.
I am unequivocally the most unflaggingly hard worker I know, and I love self-improvement. I have always felt that my time should be spent wisely, so I continuously challenge myself; I left Villanova because the work was too easy. Once I realized I could achieve a perfect GPA while holding a part-time job at NYU, I decided to redouble my effort by placing out of two classes, taking two honors classes, and holding two part-time jobs. That semester I achieved a 3.93, and in the same time I managed to bench double my bodyweight and do 35 pull-ups.
I say these things only because solid evidence is more convincing than unverifiable statements, and I want to demonstrate that I am a hard worker. J.P. Morgan is a firm with a reputation that precedes itself and employees who represent only the best and rightest in finance. I know that the employees in this firm will push me to excellence, especially within the Investment Banking division. In fact, one of the supporting reasons I chose Investment Banking over any other division was that I know it is difficult. I hope to augment my character by diligently working for the professionals at Morgan Stanley, and I feel I have much to offer in return.
I am proficient in several programming languages, and I can pick up a new one very quickly. For instance, I learned a years worth of Java from NYU in 27 days on my own; this is how I placed out of two including: Money and Banking, Analysis, Game Theory, Probability and Statistics. Even further, I am taking Machine Learning and Probabilistic Graphical Modeling currently, two programming courses offered by Stanford, so that I may truly offer the most if I am accepted. I am proficient with Bloomberg terminals, excellent with excel, and can perform basic office functions with terrifying efficiency. I have plenty of experience in the professional world through my internship at Merrill Lynch, and my research assistant position at NYU. In fact, my most recent employer has found me so useful that he promoted me to a Research Assistant and an official CTED intern. This role is usually reserved for Masters students, but my employer gave the title to me so that he could give me more work.
Please realize that I am not a braggart or conceited, I just want to outline my usefulness. Egos can be a huge liability, and I try not to have one.
Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.