By Steve Moran

Not my favorite thing to do, but I am working on writing a couple of job descriptions, and I came across a job posting that says this:

To apply, please also include a cover letter with your thoughts – why you think you’re the ideal candidate, compensation requirements, and anything else you think is relevant. Please do not send a typical boring cover letter or address it to, “Dear Hiring Manager.” We’re not looking for the “Dear Hiring Manager” types. We’re wacky, and culture means everything to us, we need people who think outside the box and aren’t afraid to dive in. Please use spellcheck – if your resume and/or cover letter are loaded with typos and grammatical mistakes, we’ll have to pass.

If your cover letter interests us, we’ll open your resume (but we’ll be paying more attention to your cover letter so again, please WOW us)!

I love pretty much everything about this. But at the very top of my like list is this:

“If your cover letter interests us, we’ll open your resume (but we’ll be paying more attention to your cover letter so again, please WOW us)!”


First, this is pretty much how everyone does it anyway. But what is particularly appealing is that this company is actually telling job prospects how to win the contest.

  • Don’t be boring
  • Don’t do a typical “Dear Hiring Manager”
  • Be wacky
  • Show how you can think outside the box
  • Use spellcheck (I had to see if they got this wrong since spellcheck without a space in between does not make the Google doc’s spell checker happy. But it turns out this is an acceptable use . . . maybe you already know this).
  • Finally WOW us!

This kind of job posting does three things:

  1. It gives applicants the key to success
  2. It tells the candidates who want to just cut and paste not to bother
  3. It presets the tone of the work environment

It Works

Just before the first of the year, we made the decision to bring on a full-time social media manager and I posted it on the local (Sacramento) craigslist. I titled it “Scrappy Social Media Manager”. We got about 50 responses, and while about half were garbage, “pray and spray” responses the rest had some merit and we ended up with a great hire.

What’s Weird Though

In writing this article I figured there must be some research on this topic and so went to Google. Not a thing, or at least I could not find it. I reached out to a couple of people who do this kind of research and I got a lead on someone who might be willing to do some research on it, so there may be a follow-up article.

I would love to know if you have had any experience with these kinds of job postings.

Click here to read comments and join the conversation about this article.