Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Completely Wrong Ways to Write a Cover Letter

Be Quirky/Original
Sometimes standing out in a crowd is a bad thing.
Sometimes standing out in a crowd is a bad thing.

We've all heard these kinds of stories. There was the woman who won a free trip to Florida because instead of mailing in her contest entry like everyone else, she had it hand-delivered by a clown. Or the guy who couldn't get a date with a popular girl until he sent her a hat with a note that said, "I want to throw my hat into the ring. Please go out with me." These stunts are quirky, but they often score big points for originality. So why not try the same thing in a job search? After all, hiring someone to deliver your resume with a "singing telegram" cover letter would definitely ensure it isn't lost in a pile with 300 others.

Please -- don't do it. Yes, that kind of strategy can be funny and original. And maybe it'd work if you were applying for a Broadway audition or for work in a carnival. But in general, it's a bad idea. It screams unprofessionalism, and the majority of employers will be much more impressed with a well-written cover letter and resume. Really.