A guy who was born in Canada, grew up in Indonesia, went to high school in Australia, spent half a year in Hawaii, and ended up back in Canada.
This is my story...
DR's Corner
Wednesday, March 23, 2005

So how long's your cover letter?

I was always taught that a cover letter should describe a bit more about a resume, filling in bits of details that you don't put in the resume, to catch the reader's attention. It should be clear, compact and concise, and usually no more than 1 full page of writing.

Well, this morning, I attended a career planning session tailored for the Ontario Public Service (OPS) jobs, and shockingly found out that apparently the procedure in the OPS is to have as much elaboration/details possible in the cover letter, and I was shown an example of a 6 page long cover letter. One of my co-attendees then proceeded to tell me how he has a 14 page cover letter, and has seen some up to 16. I was quite speechless for quite a bit, and the blank stares from everyone in the room was just priceless.

I really wish I could tell you that I'm joking, but I'm not. The presenter has worked with OPS employees for a number of years, and has been in career management for about 20 years. It was just mind boggling to see how much detail was in the sample cover letter that was passed around. For every qualification required, there were at least 7 or 8 points about how the candidate has experience in it. Although she admitted that not all ministries within the government follow the rules, but that was the actual procedure.

Oh man, I think I'll be having an interesting conversation with my workmates and manager sometime tomorrow to see their reaction :)


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