Shakespeare Reincarnate

I’ve read many cover letters and resumes and wondered, “who talks like this?” Some job seekers believe channeling their inner Shakespeare is the best way to impress a hiring manager.  Though that may win points on occasion, most times it blurs your message and puts you at risk of appearing insincere or fake. The goal should always be to deliver a professional, clear, succinct and meaningful message that offers a glimpse of your true nature without being overly casual. All of those requirements can be met without burning up the pages of a thesaurus or getting your 16th Century groove on.

When trying to gauge what language and degree of formality you should use with a cover letter and resume, consider how the company you are applying to communicates with its customers. Whether conscious or subconscious, employers are likely looking for those who can communicate in a similar fashion. Review the company’s website and what you can find of its marketing materials. Take note of style and vocabulary choices. If they don’t present themselves as a “where for art thou” company to the public, it’s a big hint you presenting your information to them in that manner will flop.

For the companies you find that do lean to the formal side of the fence, it’s still important not to get carried away with fancy language. Use enough to showcase your vocabulary without muddying the message. No matter how formal an environment, the primary goal is still to be understood. People are willing to read Shakespeare’s words a few times over to capture his true meaning. It’s rare for your cover letter or resume to be afforded the same courtesy.


  • Hi Lisa,
    It is so great to see Steve again. Too bad that you could not make it as well.
    I hope that you and the kids are doing well.


  • Lisa says:

    We are doing well. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I suppose Steve is showing off his handy work. Say hello to everyone for me.

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