Two for the price of one?
July 24, 2006 4:00 AM   Subscribe

In a cover letter, is it alright to mention interest in another similar opening in the same company?

I'm applying to an ad from a newspaper, which directed me to the company's website. There's another position listed there that sounds as good as the original one I'm applying to. Is it cool to sneak into the cover letter something like "I would also be interested in the X position as well." Anyone got a job doing this?
posted by zardoz to Work & Money (17 answers total)
Gotta butt in with a different but related question--is it ok to send a cover letter as the email body, or should it be a separate .doc file like my resume?
posted by zardoz at 4:07 AM on July 24, 2006

No. Stay focused.

Put the cover letter on a seperate page of the same doc file.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:12 AM on July 24, 2006

email is the cover letter and mention both positions in the message title. Make sure your qualifications for the two positons are equal and you aren't creating the idea you are generalist or desperate.

Applying for a programmer job and then mentioning you are happy to take a data entry job is a good example of screwing it up.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 4:13 AM on July 24, 2006

brandon, are you sure about attaching the cover letter as a seperate .doc? These days recruiters and HR departments just forward the emails with attached CV's and I don't think any manager with hiring authority looks at a cover letter on email as a no-no.

However, I could be wrong as usual.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 4:14 AM on July 24, 2006

I was in a similar situation and polled my friends.

I'd do 2 seperate cover letters and tweak your resume to better fit the needs of the position.

Add a line in each cover letter that says that you're also interested in applying for the other position.
posted by k8t at 4:27 AM on July 24, 2006

If you decided to submit two applications, you don't want to change them so much that the person looking at them concludes that one has falsified information.
posted by oddman at 4:51 AM on July 24, 2006

I disagree with k8t. Two separate cover letters and two different resumes are going to confuse the hell out of an HR staffer. If I got such a thing, my impression would be that your mail-merge is so huge and your scope so wide that you aren't paying attention to where your letters are going. In doing so I'd probably end up missing or ignoring the disclaimers in your cover letters that this isn't in fact the case.

I'd go with one cover letter, applying for both jobs, and explaining why your qualifications meet either or both. This is assuming that there's some overlap in the job description such that it would make sense that both of these jobs would be a good fit.

Also, don't put anything of consequence in the e-mail body. Higher-ups will never see anything that isn't an attachment. The email body should be targeted at the staff member who is opening the mail, and identify who you are, what the email is about, and what each of your attachments are.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:52 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]

I recommend that you review yesterday's discussion of the "No Phone Calls, Please" rule and, in particular, Brandon Blatcher's comments regarding proving your ability to solve a specific hiring manager's problems.

Good luck!
posted by NYCinephile at 5:08 AM on July 24, 2006

Your cover letter should specify both positions, as well as your interest in any other position that they feel you are qualified for.

Your cover letter should be pasted as the body of the email AND attached as a file. Why? Why not? Best of both worlds.
posted by MrZero at 5:14 AM on July 24, 2006

Your cover letter should be pasted as the body of the email AND attached as a file.

Also, don't name the attached file "resume.doc". Make it meaningful, like YourName_Resume.doc.
posted by candyland at 5:25 AM on July 24, 2006

I would apply to one job or the other. I would then, 1 week later, if I still hadn't heard about the first job, apply to the other one with a new cover letter.

I would also send my file as a .pdf file rather than as a doc file. It guarantees the formatting will be correct and that there are no changes to it. .doc files can appear differntly on different machines.

I would write an briefer cover letter in my email page and attach a more detailed version in a .pdf file. The email cover should be enough to entice the reader to open the cover and resume. It should infomr the reader of the value you will add to their firm not just your interest in the opening.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:05 AM on July 24, 2006

Another thought: call the company and ask them.

Don't do it from your phone of course, but a direct question might be better in this instance as long as you keep it anonymous.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:19 AM on July 24, 2006

We're sending resumes in as *.DOC* files now??

Oh, my, ghod... has the world fallen that far?

I guess it depends on what position you're applying for, and I'm a Unix guy; in my world, the attachment ending in .doc would get you shitcanned without them even opening the file.

PS: virus scan your machine before sending people attached documents in a format that permits macros.
posted by baylink at 11:09 AM on July 24, 2006

baylink, some people seek jobs that do not involve computer programming.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:36 AM on July 24, 2006

It could put you at a disadvantage. In my field, when I see applicants, I hope to see candidates who craft their resumes and letters to demonstrate that they are both ideally suited for and particularly passionate about the position I'm trying to fill. If they mention that they'd also be open to another position, it can detract from that impression. That's especially true when, though the company has more than one position open, I'm only involved in hiring for one of them. Applicants' interest in another position creates the impression that they may not fit perfectly into the one I'm involved in filling. If the other department feels the same way, these applicants fall between the cracks, ideal for neither position.
posted by daisyace at 12:42 PM on July 24, 2006

Save interest in another position for the interview. It's easier to explain in person. I'd just hype up the "I'm really excited about joining your company" bit in the cover letter.
posted by Rock Steady at 2:58 PM on July 24, 2006

Thanks, everyone. Good advice from all (hence no "best answer"!). If you're interested, I sent off my cover letter mentioning both positions, and I sent it as a attached .doc file. We'll see how it goes!

\knocks on wood
\\two or three times
posted by zardoz at 4:51 PM on July 24, 2006

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