I just ran into a job posting that ends with sentence "A presentation letter and references are frowned upon". That seemed rather unusual to me, since what I usually found is that presentation letter and references are often required or at least encouraged.

I'm not asking for advice because I'm not going to apply for this offer but I'd like to know if this is usual and what may be the reason to discourage sending a cover letter.

Edits in response to comments:

The whole last paragraph of the document is:

Please send your application to the Human Resources board at [e-mail deleted]. Expertise should be certified. A presentation letter and references are frowned upon.

I'd like to link to the actual document, but since it was sent to me as a google docs link I don't know if it's public.

About job offer/job posting, I suppose "posting" would be more appropriate, because they are looking for candidates although neither the company, nor the person who forwarded the document to me nor myself are native English speakers nor based in an English speaking countries and I'm afraid we have been misusing the terms.


I found the posting in a public web with a quite similar wording - not exact. It's here.

  • 1
    Job Offer or posting? If it's a posting, it may just mean the company doesn't care for these and doesn't want their time wasted by you including it. – Magisch Mar 6 '17 at 10:45
  • Perhaps a redacted copy of the job posting itself to help provide context for theorizing? Or had you wanted only actual firsthand experiences? – Teacher KSHuang Mar 6 '17 at 11:03
  • Is it possible that the posting was not a native speaker and it's simply a bad translation? – David K Mar 6 '17 at 12:53
  • @DavidK Maybe, but missing "frowned up" by "required" seems a large error. However, although I can't find obvious mistakes in the posting, structures used mirror those that would sound very natural in Catalan or Spanish, so it has likely been written by a non native English speaker. – Pere Mar 6 '17 at 13:45
  • @Pere I could see "frowned upon" appearing if the person started with "not expected" or "not desired". It's hard to tell exactly what synonyms would result in a mistranslation without knowing both languages well. This is why professional translators still exist in the days of Google translate. – David K Mar 6 '17 at 13:52

I think most likely JUST a presentation letter and references are frowned upon. That is, do not supply these without actual certifications (referring back to the sentence before it). A simple error of leaving a single word out in a different language.


I'm answering my own question to summarize comments and close the issue.

"A presentation letter and references are frowned upon" is likely an error of translation. Probably the job poster intention is that presentation letter and references are requested, which is more usual in this kind of job posting.

  • Assuming the opposite of what is written seems risky. – Weckar E. Mar 20 '17 at 12:49
  • Of course, actual advise should be asking before posting - if advice had been asked. – Pere Mar 20 '17 at 16:02
  • I'm sorry, I have absolutely no idea what you mean by that... – Weckar E. Mar 23 '17 at 8:20

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