Kansas City Star columnist Mike Hendricks was looking for a new job in PR.
He applied with what many found to be—and what he later admitted to be—a supremely arrogant cover letter, excerpted here (the full can be found on the Bad Pitch Blog):
As a journalist for 30 plus years and a newspaper columnist the past 12 at The Kansas City Star, I am eminently qualified to be your public relations specialist — despite no paid experience in public relations.
Frankly, if there’s a pr person above the pr specialist, I’m probably qualified for that job, too.
I would be happy to submit an application, but I’d hate to be wasting your time and mine if it turns out this is some minor league position with a paltry salary.
Now, we’re not gonna have his head for this. Some want to. We think the guy was just trying to cut the BS and show a little confidence. So what if he erred on the cocky side?
However, the guy made two huge mistakes.
1) Not reading the job description properly, or at least not doing his research. A couple seconds on Google would have found that the job description matched an entry-level position and that the salary probably wasn’t what he was interested in.
2) Being so obnoxious, in the hiring manager’s mind, that he was outed. Now his boss at the Kansas City Star knows he’s job-hunting.
“Mike and I talked,” his boss Jesse Barker told Poynter. “I was supportive and that was the end of it. We’ve moved on.”
We say feel free to be arrogant rather than deferent/submissive in your cover letters, but be aware that you run the risk of having this happen to you.