No Laughing Matter

Applicants hope that a cover letter will incite a reaction, but most likely, laughter is not the desired response. According to a Business Insider article, “How a Tenacious Summer Analyst Applicant Got Laughed at by Goldman, Morgan, and Everyone Else on Wall Street,” one New York University job seeker’s cover letter, submitted to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, then passed around to a dozen other firms, did just that. It appears that guffaws didn’t come from a missed comma or other mechanical errors, but the candidate’s boasting and misinterpretation of firm culture.

Knowing a company and its personality is essential for creating notable application materials. Assessment of organizational culture can be done in a variety of ways: informational interviews, networking, and research. Library databases like Career Insider and ThomsonONE StreetEvents as well as websites like provide the foundation needed to tailor entry into an organization.

Chat or e-mail the Business/SPEA Information Commons for more information about these resources or strategies for researching organizational culture.

About Christina Sheley

I am the Head of the Business/SPEA Information Commons at Indiana University-Bloomington.
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