Humor: A Great Way To Break The Ice, Just Don’t Add It To Your Cover Letter

Thursday, 7. June 2012

They say laughter is the best medicine, and I know when I am feeling down or a bit stressed at work, a little bit of humor can go a long way to help break the tension. Furthermore it is a great way to break the ice when interacting with people for the first time, whether they are mutual friends in your social circle, strangers on an elevator, or even new co-workers.

According to a recent workplace and hiring trends research report released by Robert Half International, one of the world’s largest specialized staffing firms, 79% of all hiring managers say that an prospective employee’s sense of humor is an important personality trait taken into consideration when deciding if the applicant will fit well into the company’s corporate culture.

While your sense of humor is taken into consideration, this is by no means an open invention to let loose with raunchy one-liners during the interview. You will still need to remain professional even while showing that you posses a sense of humor.

Remaining professional is especially important when it comes to your professionally written resume and cover letter. Many times attempts at being witty do not translate that well on paper.

Here are a few samples of attempts at humorous cover letters that failed:

#1 – Roanald

You may have already heard about Roanald and is epic cover letter that he sent to He’s the s#@t in case you didn’t know. Although the Aviary blog says his was successfully hired, don’t believe the hype, Roanald’s attempt at using a humorous cover letter to successfully land a job failed.

#2 – David

David responded to Open Source Staffing’s job listing for a contract-to-hire API engineer. Since he’s awesome and is trained in MMA he didn’t feel the need to be professional. In the end, although good for a laugh, David’s attempt at a humorous cover letter was a fail.

#3 – Name Removed To Protect The Foolish

Unfortunately, sometimes the humor is unintentional, as can be seen by one New York University applicant’s cover letter. Although the applicant may have thought of his cover letter as a serious approach to landing a coveted summer analyst position, the unintentional humor failed at getting him an interview. It did however give quite a few Wall Street brokers a good laugh.