Some sites promote a casual attitude toward the practice of lifting words, phrases or whole passages. "Take out the guesswork and easily get great ideas from these top-notch samples," reads one online advertisement, which offered 50 sample cover letters customers could use to steal phrases and words for their own cover letters.
How serious an offense is this? Some are not sure it should be considered an offense at all. "It's something of a gray area," said Randall S. Hansen, a marketing professor at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., and founder of Quintessential Careers, an online job-search information site. "If it were a student assignment I would say that it's plagiarism. As an employer, I would think this is a lazy individual and question the ethics of taking someone else's work."
Mr. Hansen says that in a world of high-profile business scandals, employers are far more sensitive to character and may wonder if the person lifting passages from a generic online letter could be a future employee stealing office supplies. But he also understands that a society that has come to view the Internet as a free library may wonder why "they should have to reinvent the wheel" with the vast amount of job material available.
Some job seekers see no difference between taking passages from online sites and hiring a résumé consultant to write the documents for them.
Daphne Jean Baptiste, a Queens resident who is looking for a customer service or administrative assistant position, said that in the past she had used portions of online résumés or cover letters if they were "worded better" than her own.
But she says that potential employers are more responsive to personalized résumés and cover letters specially tailored to each position.
Ms. Catanzaro, 35, the photography studio assistant who reviewed the identically worded cover letters, said none of the applicants were turned down for interviews because of perceived ethical transgressions.
"If it had been a job for a copywriter, I might have held it against them," she said. "But I don't know how important it is for a receptionist to have an original cover letter."
Elizabeth Kiss, director of the Kenan Center for Ethics at Duke University in Durham, N.C., agreed that for a promising entry-level candidate, appropriating online material might be considered an error of ignorance.
But if the same thing happened with a more experienced job seeker, she would consider it a deal-breaker. While not as egregious as falsifying a résumé, she said it was dishonest -- "passing someone else's words off as their own."
Ms. Kiss also sees a similarity between copying cover letter and résumé material and hiring professional résumé services, a practice that is widely accepted and even considered a smart career move by many job seekers and employers.
While she finds nothing unethical about helping a job seeker put together a résumé, she says that hiring someone to write the document blurs the line between what is and is not original work.
Mr. Hansen, who in addition to his jobs Web site offers an online writing service called Quintessential Résumés and Cover Letters, said, "It's possible to create a flawless document and a false image."
"When hiring a résumé consultant, my advice is consider credentials and testimonials. I've seen people pay a lot of money and get an inferior product. Above all, buyer beware."
That has not been a problem for Mark Shelley, 41, a vice president for sales support at Harcourt Achieve, an educational publisher in Austin, Tex., who has stuck with the same résumé service since he graduated from college in 1988. Mr. Shelley, an English major, said he was not good at assessing his own skills or writing business cover letters.
"It's very difficult as an individual to be objective about your own career," he said. "To have a skilled outsider look at your work from an objective point of view is helpful."
John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm based in Chicago, said the typical job searcher focused too much attention on résumé and cover letters. He says he has found that "wordsmithing" cover letters to match every ad is a not a good use of time and that résumés do not always open doors.
The reality, he says, is that many cover letters go unread and that résumés are often put into large databases and eliminated if they do not contain certain words or phrases. He encourages job seekers to network, respond to job ads and even try phoning potential employers directly.
Still, most employees will use résumés and cover letters as their introduction to future employers. And specialists say that sample résumés and cover letters can be useful to inspire ideas for individualized documents.
The University of Texas career services Web site offers a clear warning to students and alumni about copying material.
"Please do not copy the letters verbatim," it said. "Copying these letters could have a negative impact if your classmates use the same letter to the same organization. This has happened. So don't let it happen to you."Continue reading the main story
Gallery Assistant Cover Letter
Gallery Assistants aid staff members with administrative and creative tasks, performing duties ranging from managing correspondence to monitoring visitors. They are usually in charge of special events, as well as the safety of the gallery’s collection and computer systems, and they may assist in the setting up and breaking down of exhibits, as well as the coordination of on and off-site events.
A cover letter is a form of communication that acts like a dialogue with your prospective employer before you ever even meet him or her. It can be a great way to offer up your skills and experience so as to stand out from other candidates who are applying for the same job.
Job descriptions for Gallery Assistants showcase such duties as:
- Assisting clients during sale viewings and on sale days
- Showing clients property that is on display
- Answering general inquiries about sales and property
- Assisting security in the viewing areas
A sample cover letter for a Gallery Assistant that expresses the skills and expertise required for the role is shown below. Also, be sure to check out our extensive Gallery Assistant resume samples.
Dear Ms. Agnes Hamilton:
The description you posted for a Gallery Assistant matches my interests and qualifications perfectly.
With a strong background in fine art and former experience as a gallery assistant, I am confident that I would be a successful part of your team. Having worked for a number of museums and galleries in the past, I have been exposed to a number of aspects of the art world. My experience as Program Coordinator at Diaspora Vibe Gallery in Miami, Florida demonstrates my capability of working with others through the creative process of production while meeting project deadlines. Also, my education including an MFA in Media Art and MA in Chinese Culture and History have allowed me to learn the nuances of people and have provided me with good investigative and analytical skills that will suit your needs for exceptional customer assistance.
I have a unique international background and have lived in several countries across Europe, South America, and Asia, I have also studied and worked in the US and am currently planning to relocate to New York City. I am fluent in English, Spanish, and German and have familiarity with Portuguese and Mandarin. My extensive cross cultural background makes it easier for me to work successfully with clients of all nationalities.
Some of my key skills include:
- Creativity, ability to improvise to meet customer needs
- Strong administrative, communication, and organizational skills
- Quick learner and self starter with high energy
- Proficient with the internet and social media
I welcome the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss my candidacy and will contact you to see if we might arrange a time to speak about the position. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.