Piqued My Interest

Why Writing “You Peaked My Interest” Might Lose You Interviews

Cover letters eliminate you from consideration for jobs far more often than they compel your readers to call you. Sorry, but it’s true.

They’re often poorly written and riddled with mistakes — probably because we don’t write them very often. 

Why We Write Letters

  1. To apply for jobs.
  2. For legal documentation.
  3. For love.

In other words, not very often (or not often enough!). Thus, most of us aren’t very good at it.

Peaked, Peeked, or Piqued My Interest?

Given that, I smiled at this tweet from Lydia Dishman, a FastCompany writer and editor:

Multiple Choice Test: Peaked, Piqued, or Peeked?

Pick the correct choice for a cover letter sentence:

A. Your recent posting for a Lion Tamer peaked my interest.

B. Your ad for a Copy Editor piqued my interest.

C. Your recent posting for a Pirate to join Walt Disney Parks & Resorts peeked my interest.

D. None of the above.


B.  Your ad for a Copy Editor piqued my interest.

I would hire that Copy Editor applicant on the spot because I have rarely seen the word “piqued” used correctly in a cover letter.

I have even been tempted to check the OED to see if they’ve done a global Edit/Find/Replace that eliminated “piqued” and replaced it with “peaked.”

What to Do

If you want to stand out in your cover letter, use “piqued” correctly.

(BTW, learn how to have Word automatically fix the “peaked when you meant piqued” error here.)

If you mess up and use peaked or peeked, will you be eliminated? Yes — if you want to be a Copy Editor. Otherwise — maybe.

If your reader knows how to use piqued correctly, and you don’t, it will tarnish your application.

If you stack up enough of those little dings (see another frequent job seeker error here), and “enough” is personal to every reader, your resume will move to the “No Interview” pile.

Peaked, Peeked, or Piqued — How Can You Remember?

To close, check out Dr. Clare Lynch’s darling tips for remembering what each word means:

You Might Also Like

Do You Confuse Phase and Faze?
Is It Manger or Manager? — How to Customize Word AutoCorrect
No Response on a Job Application — Do This

Image Courtesy of Tim Gouw
Updated September 2020

© 2014 – 2020, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 4

  1. Donna, thank you for confirming what I have been saying and thinking about cover letters for a long time.

  2. Lydia’s point is well taken an infraction, no matter how small can destroy a persons chances
    of landing the position. A position they may have been the best candidate for.

  3. Mastering English is an accomplishment. It’s complicated and has many little nooks and crannies. I give people a Mulligan or two, because I don’t want to be held to a standard of perfection myself, but you’re right Dean, not everyone does.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *