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Surprise! Nobody Cares

Q: For interviews and cover letters, I've heard that the best way to show interest in a firm is to give historical facts (founding date, important deals) or logistics (number of employees). How often should we work these in?

Yikes, what bad advice. That is the last thing I want to hear. When I am reading your cover letter, I do want to know that your letter has been written specifically to answer my job description, and that it is not a form letter. Likewise, when I am assessing you in both your cover letter (and resume) and during your interview, I am looking for evidence that you would want to work for me and my firm.

But, regurgitated facts are not the way to show it.

Experiences and skills that are aligned with what I do are much more relevant to me. I am never going to leave an interview thinking, “Wow, she was able to name all three of our founders and knew when their birthdays were!” But you will be heading towards an offer if I am thinking “Wow, that research project she worked on covered exactly the type of problems we deal with every day!”

Dazzle me with your skills and evidence of interest in my industry; don’t bore me with memorized facts about my firm.

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  1. That is true in my case. I used to research on the business of my prospective employers. I also read any latest news about them, any milestones that I could memorize just in case the interview conversation veer towards their company. However, I soon discovered that not one of these prospects really do ask or check if I know anything about their company. They are more interested on topics about my skills set and the major projects or accomplishments I have made throughout my career.

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