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. It happens because cover letters are often poorly written and riddled with mistakes.

Why We Write Letters

Think about 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.

Is It Peak or Pique Your Interest?

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

Peaked, Piqued, or Peeked?

So now, 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.

Answer:

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 piqued used correctly in a cover letter. Seriously, most people write peaked.

Definition of Pique

I’ve even been tempted to check the OED to see if they’ve eliminated piqued and replaced it with peaked.

Here’s what the Google dictionary says about piqued:

Stimulate (interest or curiosity)

Thus, it’s a great cover letter word. But, as Lydia noted, it’s a confusing triple homophone.

And, as I noted, almost every job seeker gets it wrong.

What to Do

So, if you want to stand out in your cover letter, spell piqued correctly.

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

If you stack up enough boo boos, and “enough” is personal to every recruiter and hiring manager, 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:

 

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Updated February 2021

© 2014 – 2021, 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.

    Donna

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