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Would you do this? Pre-Written Letters for PhD's !!!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:33 pm
by Dave Jensen
Recently, I started seeing letters and applications that looked mighty familiar. Sure enough, they were versions of the same letters, the same packages essentially with changed information. Unbelievable. I found the source of those letters, and there's a website selling them specifically geared to PhD scientists. You can buy these for $15, or a whole pack of them for $35 or so. One of those websites that tries to compete with is looking for some way to "monetize" their website and it's revolting.

This is the worst kind of cheating, not all that much different than buying a history essay for your undergraduate History of Europe 101 course.

Do people really DO this? Yes, they do, and I can attest to it. But why would someone risk being thrown out because he or she can't write a cover letter? I'm blown away by the risk/reward ratio here. What do you think? The only appeal I can see is for someone who doesn't speak English well, but do they know what they are risking?


Re: Would you do this? Pre-Written Letters for PhD's !!!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:10 am
by Ana
Oh this is certainly a very bad idea!

I could see people resorting to paid letters in two scenarios. One is the person from a foreign country not confortable enough with his/her language skills hoping to make it past the first cut, but whatever language skill deficiency they might have will be more than obvious during a phone conversation so that's a short-lived strategy.

The second scenario might be people coming out of school thinking of the job market as exams where you just need to give the right answers to have a good grade, and using those paid letters pretty much as templates for right answers to get that good interview grade. In other words, I could see people that has not yet been familiar with the realities of the job market thinking that buying letters is not only right but also a common thing to do. And yes being naive about the job market applies to people with PhDs too if all they know is the academic system.

And I must say there is so much written about needing to have special keywords on your letter/resume to not be screened out by some HR electronic system that it can create the impression that either you get the "computer targeted letter" just right or you won't make it through to a conversation with a real human being. I could see people capitalizing on that paranoia to sell "good letters" to those candidates that might have little exposure to the job market and think it is like an exam that requires some very specific right answers. If they land on a human being, like the ones you read, that means red flags, but how about bypassing that famous huge HR electronic system that screens people constantly out?

In any case it is just a way to take advantage of people in a vulnerable stage of their careers, since that is not teaching them how to write applications, and in that sense it is revolting as you said.

Re: Would you do this? Pre-Written Letters for PhD's !!!

PostPosted: Fri Aug 12, 2016 7:58 am
by D.X.
Hmm - agreed revolting.

But I guess I don't understand how they, the applicant, can get away with it, if it is a copy and paste letter.

The Basic rule of coverletter are that it is an individualized letter tailored specifically to the Job in question summing up very concisely, a convincing Story about the candidates individual experiences alignment to the Job in question.

The letter is also insight into a candidates writing and abiliy to self-express outside a resume, so I basically cannot understand how you can have a copy paste coverletter that will allow for a call for an interview (that's the Goal of the CV and Coverletter, to get an interview, both should tell a complementary Story).

So..i don't get how one can have a pre-written letter and get any form of return or Job outcome, i would imagine they would be weeded out anyways in a compreshensive interview process if that is even obtained.


Re: Would you do this? Pre-Written Letters for PhD's !!!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:09 pm
by Dave Walker

To the older members of our forum: is this something new in the job-hunting world? I feel like this approach must be as old as the job application itself. Perhaps it's most blatant these days? Or that it's being done at more senior levels in the workplace?

Re: Would you do this? Pre-Written Letters for PhD's !!!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:34 pm
by Dave Jensen
I think they might be preying on immigrant scientists, whose first language may not be English and who are always confused about the job process and how applications work. It's really a suspect practice, and totally a deal-killer if the reader feels it's a "canned" letter,