|Posted by A.M. Wright on January 6, 2016 at 8:40 PM|
It’s 7:29 PM on a Wednesday as I’m typing this. My mom is in the kitchen texting, my older brother and his fiancee are away at their very successful jobs, and everyone else is...well, everywhere else.
I’m at my dad’s computer because Word and Macs don’t play well together. The margins get hairy after converting the document and the devil really is in the detail. My job coach told me that. As a mentee, she told me the ins and outs of Human Resources. Computers usually run applications, keywords are absolutely necessary, studying is actually used out here in the real world (unlike College, I never studied in College), and other wonderful things about Adulthood that I never claimed to know before. She opened my eyes to things like ‘professional references’ and ‘follow ups’ and ‘character defining cover letters’.
It was like that business class I took that I don’t remember during my Sophomore or Junior year but owe a lot money to for not paying attention or sleeping or whichever one because I’m a poor student and an even worse adult (I’m also fully aware that that was a run on sentence, so you should read it again and chuckle at the irony (if there is any)).
Anyways, one thing I can assure my dear old job coach is that a cover letter is an obstacle of its own. It’s a path that you must take on this journey to punctuate to a potential employer of your capability to stand out like a sore thumb. But not too sore, because, ya know, no one wants an actual sore thumb in the office. You can’t get drinks with people like that. They’re sore and thumb-y.
I’m trying to be the special heroine in my own special story. Kind of like Rachel McAdams in Morning Glory, which I have never watched before but admire in the $5 movie bin at Walmart. Perky, cute, dimpled, and full of spunk! Not to mention a go-to attitude when the going gets tough and the tough need to be tougher (but still cute). I guess what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that a cover letter should be as telling as a conversation between two strangers discussing business.
At Panera Bread.
The only thing is that your cover letter really doesn’t say much. It doesn’t include your favorite color or preferred ethnic cuisine to binge on. It’s a personalized letter designed to cut out your flaws and pump up your strengths. Read the job responsibilities closely because that is your ‘compare and contrast’ assignment for the next thirty minutes.
The guys in the gray suits are asking: How does your previous work experience line up with we’re looking for, unnamed candidate?
I think that’s the part of the application I struggle with the most. I can personalize a response to a question frequently asked by different people with a different mode of hearing. I can even switch from a form of Academic writing to a relaxed form, which I prefer anyways. But for reasons easily explained, I have a hard time lining up my work experience with the job responsibilities. It’s like looking in a mirror and trying to convince my reflection that I am all of these things:
- 1-2 years experienced in a professional work environment.
- Creative, unique, and organized when approached with multiple tasks.
- Capable of asserting oneself and ideas without being too assertive lest the upper management see you as a threat.
- Manageable and friendly.
Ideally, I would like to write a cover letter that introduces me as a human being. Rather than showcase my efforts to “fit in”, even though I already know I’m a riot and I’ll fit in because it’s 2016. Duh.
If I was a CEO and I was planning out the sacred tree of my company, I think I would switch it up. So in an imaginary world of my own making, which is like madness in a cute tea cup with positive life sayings, I would want potential employees to be expressive. To actually BE CREATIVE. It takes a pretty smart cookie to write something that is both engaging and speaks to their character. Creative minds breed creative ideas and other creative things that are cool and worth talking about.
Like Pixar. Pixar is cool. They have a rec room and toys for their employees. Imaginary CEO Amanda would be the first to initiate May the Fourth as an official celebration of Star Wars. You can’t work for me if you don’t like the Big Three:
- Star Wars
- Harry Potter
But I’m too cool for school and super accepting, so if you don’t like one or two of those three then that’s okay. As long as you know that life without a childhood in your 30s is presumptuously boring. In fact, that would be part of the Mission Statement on my imaginary company page. It would also touch on my previous example of special heroines, like Rachel McAdams.
Be your own Rachel McAdams in a fictional movie about overcoming real life obstacles!
Positive vibes, positive life.
Anyways, to accentuate my nonsense speak I would now like to take this time to write the cover letter that is deserving of praise. A cover letter that cries, ‘Hark! This child here is the Adult that you have been seeking since that Job was posted on Indeed/Monster/Other a fortnight ago. Read! Experience! Delight and take her phone number, your future is upon you!’ (Read that the way it was meant to be read: With drama! With flare! Like Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady!)
So here goes….
To Whom It May Concern:
My name, without giving too much away, is Amanda. I’m 22 and out of college, which was a fun ride. I have a Bachelor’s Degree and I also have a part time job at a bookstore. They like to tell me I’m full time. I like to tell them that I love books. You might then ask why I am applying? Good question.
My favorite color is purple. It’s my favorite color because I was convinced at a young age that your favorite color has to be the same as your birthstone. Mine is Amethyst. I was born because my parents wanted me and now I claim that I was born to be the next Great American Author. The only thing stopping me is every other Great American Author, like Khloe Kardashian and Chris Colfer (apparently fame, too?). I went to college to play softball and learn stuff. I quit softball to focus on learning stuff. End result? I learned a lot of stuff. My interests are like my heart, I wear them on my Instagram. Running, reading, writing, and sometimes doodling. I’m really good at the writing thing when I want to be. Self application and a little pat in the right direction is a good starting point. Why hire me? Well, I think I’m funny. I’ll try to make people laugh, but I mostly make myself laugh and someone once told me: If you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at? Probably not verbatim, but close enough. I like working and being occupied with work, especially when I really like what I do. Currently I shelve books and alphabetize things for 8 hours. It’s therapeutic, you should try it some time.
Why am I qualified? That’s on my resume. This letter is me saying ‘Hi!’ and waving at you from across the hall with a big goofy smile. I want this opportunity because I want to work, because an opportunity is like knowing that someone else believes in you. Take that into consideration. If you need anything else, like a reference letter or portfolio pieces then you know who to call. Or email.
(And there you have it. The cover letter of my soul. Did you tear up a little? I pictured a little british boy in a bad part of town reading it out loud as a monologue with string accompaniment. Like a Victorian England backdrop and Lindsey Stirling grinding out sweet, sweet beats. That would be a good movie if one was ever made. Anyways, share your thoughts or impart some wisdom or write your own letter. It’s fun, trust me.)