Writing a cover letter is one of the most difficult parts of the job application process. In comparison, resumes are easy: all you have to do is list your accomplishments, succeed in avoiding typos, and don't use comic sans. But the cover letter is an exercise in personal marketing. Choose one tone, and you can sound too glib; choose another, and your letter will sound formulaic and fail to get a response.
A recent applicant to an internship program on Wall Street solved the problem with a rather novel approach: he was bluntly honest. How honest? Here's an excerpt: