Shocker. It seems that ‘humble’ could actually work on Wall Street.
Well, at least for the brutally honest and hilariously self-deprecating young student, whose cover letter publicized on Business Insider, has generated a ton of positive interest amongst investment banking bosses.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the recipient of the e-mail immediately forwarded it on to colleagues, adding, “This might be the best cover letter I’ve ever received. Second and third paragraphs especially.”
Another added to the e-mail chain, “I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy gets at least a call from every bank out there.”
For your reading pleasure, I’m including the letter in full and have taken the liberty to highlight the classic bits.
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 1:14PM
Subject: Summer Internship
My name is (BLOCKED) and I am an undergraduate finance student at (BLOCKED). I met you the summer before last at Smith & Wollensky’s in New York when I was touring the east coast with my uncle, (BLOCKED). I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk with me that night.
I am writing to inquire about a possible summer internship in your office. I am aware it is highly unusual for undergraduates from average universities like (BLOCKED) to intern at (BLOCKED), but nevertheless I was hoping you might make an exception. I am extremely interested in investment banking and would love nothing more than to learn under your tutelage. I have no qualms about fetching coffee, shining shoes or picking up laundry, and will work for next to nothing. In all honesty, I just want to be around professionals in the industry and gain as much knowledge as I can.
I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crapp (sic) about how my past experiences and skill set align perfectly for an investment banking internship. The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you. I’ve interned for Merrill Lynch in the Wealth Management Division and taken an investment banking class at (BLOCKED), for whatever that is worth.
I am currently awaiting admission results for (BLOCKED) Masters of Science in Accountancy program, which I would begin this fall if admitted. I am also planning on attending law school after my master’s program, which we spoke about in New York. I apologize for the blunt nature of my letter, but I hope you seriously consider taking me under your wing this summer. I have attached my resume for your review. Feel free to call me at (BLOCKED) or email at (BLOCKED). Thank you for your time.
Not everyone is impressed by this cover letter though.
“They live on a different planet – and probably have never seen any of these letters before as their HR departments are trained monkeys.”
In other words, another example of a viral letter for entertainment purposes, that is much ado about nothing. And yes, I’m doing my best to ignore the ‘trained monkeys’ bit.
He goes on to explain, “The letter is well written and makes you have great sympathy for the applicant. However, it also feels as a call for charity. I would still prefer the candidate to have something special about them that they can tell me about , rather than a person who pretty much admits that he or she is pretty average. This letter is really not an exception – plenty of smart, hard working, honest people are begging for jobs that are just not available. To get ahead unfortunately, writing beautiful letters is not likely what will get you the job – doing extra ordinary things and thinking outside the box is.”
Still though – you’ve got to hand it to the applicant, who is probably the one in all of this having the last laugh: the seemingly average candidate may just have scored the internship of his or her dreams – the one that most college students would give their eyeteeth for – and it all came down to an average, albeit inspired cover letter.
This article first appeared in Forbes magazine: Wall Street Bosses Are Calling This 'The Best Cover Letter Ever' - But Not Everyone Agrees