critical.jpgI sent out a cover letter and resume for a job I was interested in, but I did something in the cover letter that I typically don’t do. I was critical of the company. I pretty much said they should hire me because their website sucked.

OK, I didn’t say sucked, but I did include some choice words about how boring the content and design were, and I also wrote that their social media initiatives were lacking.

Hey, I’m all about honesty, so I figured they needed to hear these things. And speaking about hearing things, I haven’t heard back from that employer. Did I offend? We talk so much about not trashing your former employer in a cover letter or an interview, but what about trashing the people you want to work with?

I emailed one of my favorite career coaches to ask her about my in-your-face tactic.

I wrote:

is it ever ok to dog a company in a cover letter or an interview? basically, saying something like, “you should hire me so i can fix the stupid things you’re doing at your company.” definitely, a bit more diplomatic and nuanced than this.

Kiki Weingarten, cofounder of Atypical Coaching, wrote back:

Tough question but here are a couple of thoughts.

* Hard to get noticed nowadays - might just get you noticed
* must be done the right way so -
* tell them what you like about x in the organization but that -
* your experience, skills, talents, unique ________, _______, would be perfect for _____ by
* give one or two teasers (you don’t want to give your information or idea away for free and without credit - they can take the ideas and run with it and then you’ve got nothing.
* give just enough so they want more but have to come to you for it.

This all makes sense. When I hire a part timer, freelancer, or choose an intern, I like to know they are bringing something to the table that can help make my site, my work, me, better.

What do you think? Is it ever a good idea to dog an employer you want to work for in a cover letter, or an interview? And on the flip side, if an employer isn’t open to hearing some criticism, or new ideas, do you really want to work for them?

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