Dear HR

Posted by Orville Bennett on 7 March 2009
Read time: about 5 minutes

I was going through stuff on my old macbook pro drive and I found this cover letter I wrote some time last year (possibly this time last year). I believe I sent it out in a form very similar, if not identical to what you'll see below. I don't remember why, but I was quite serious and if I'm not mistaken, someone from Cornell did call me for a phone interview. Just goes to show boys and girls, honesty ain't gonna kill yah (then again, no guarantees that it wont ...).

If my memory serves me well, the phone interview seemed promising but they were unable to fly me out to NY, (and I was unable to pay for it) so that was the end of that. Or it could have been another position in NY entirely that I'm recalling. Ah well, good (unemployed) times, good times.

The cover letter is reproduced, for your viewing pleasure, in it's entirety below.

Dear HR Department,
My name is Orville Bennett and this is my awesome cover letter for the RESEARCH TECHNICIAN II position. This is where, through the very scientific process of reading, you will be able to unerringly determine whether I am a proper candidate for employment at your auspicious institution. Permit me this little indulgence and allow me to begin, personal introduction notwithstanding, by making something explicit. I am seeking employment at a respectable institution and I happen to believe that yours fits the bill. If perchance I am mistaken, if research at Cornell in general, or the lab I am to join in particular is not exactly on the "up and up" do not hire me. I will keep you honest, and I will make you regret it.

An odd beginning perhaps to a letter written with the intent of convincing someone to employ me. I'm not just looking for employment however, the atmosphere, the values, the intent of those I'll work with is important to me as well. It behooves me to make this clear then otherwise I'll be looking for another employer in short order. One could best describe my interests in science as purely academic. I enjoy learning how things work, but most of all I love being in a laboratory setting, using experiments to probe "how things work". I'm also absolutely amazing in the laboratory.

When it comes to doing experiments I'm efficient, careful, diligent (sometimes more than necessary), and an absolute marvel at troubleshoooting experiments. As stated in the resume I'm familiar with a host of molecular biology techniques and am computer savvy to boot. I also pick up new techniques rather quickly thanks to the multitude of free papers available at Pubmed. It is no coincidence that a fair smattering of the buzzwords you'd want present when looking for that excellent research technician can be found here. As inferred earlier however, I am prone to bouts of brutal honesty, even at the most inoppurtune times; like when writing a cover letter for a potential employer, or speaking to a supervisor about the progress of a project.

This is because it is not my intent to manipulate anyone into believing I vaguely approach the mythical perfection employers look for. Nor is it my intent to sugarcoat any character flaws which I have at the prospect of employment. It is my belief that this sets up unreasonable expectations on one part of the employer-employee relationship which will only lead to problems in the future.
What I am attempting is to give an accurate portrayal of myself so that you, the employer, will have a easier time deciding whether I'm the type of person you would want in your employ. The résume lists my qualifications, the references will attest to how well I do my job, so the cover letter should serve the purpose of helping you get to know me. Hopefully it answers the question "Am I the type of person you're looking for?" If not, then at the very least it will have given you a refreshing departure from the typical milieu these letters tend to engender. And if you're wondering if I really am as smart as my writing makes me seem, I'm not. I'm even smarter.

I'll close by asserting that I look forward to working with you, but whether I do or not, best of luck in your research endeavours.

I can just hear the discussion after hitting this one on the inbox.
Hey! Come check this out.
Are you serious, someone actually sent this.
Yip, that one's bat s**t crazy I tell you.
Yeaaah. Let me see the number on there; think we'll do a callback.

p.s. Notice how I slipped smart ass in there? Yeah. I crazy.