I’ve written a lot of cover letters lately. And by written, I mean, asked Mo’s super smart father to give me a rough idea of what I should write, then pretty much copied and pasted that, augmenting it roughly for each company I apply to. The whole idea of writing a cover letter to “draw a potential employer in” makes very little sense to me, given that cover letters are generally pretty uniform.
Well, hello there, “potential employer” I’d like to apply to “position that I am probably way under qualified for” that i heard about through “blahblah.com.” I’m Brent, let me give you a rough idea of some of the skills I possess that I have fluffed up a little bit here. Now through the next paragraphs I’ll tell you the random reason I’m interested in your company and how I’d be awesome for you to hire, because not hiring me would be ridiculous.
Now watch me go through my latest jobs and experiences somehow trying to tie them into the things you do or could possibly want me to do. You could easily turn this sheet over and check out my resume and learn almost all of these things for yourself, but let me spell them out for you using different words, so that my resume seems fresh and new when you read it.
Also, did you know I’m highly adaptable? Oh, my intelligence, it’s great. I’m also, outgoing and personable. Oh, and the boxers I’m wearing while I write this, they’re green. Alright, well, that’s all I’ve got for you now and I don’t want to write too much because then you might disregard my resume completely. I look forward to hearing from you, because I assume that after reading this cover letter you’re jumping at the chance to hire me without even having perused my resume
All of this is total bullshit. Even interviews are stupid. I went into an interview at a shoe store and the girl had set questions she had to ask me. “When’s the last time you went above and beyond in a customer service role?” Um, look down at my resume, I taught in Japan for 4 years and before that worked in a steel factory for 6. What exactly are you looking for with that question. I’ve brought these grievances to my Mom’s attention and she told me, “They just want to see how well you can play the game.” And this is my issue. What game?? Real people aren’t like that. Can’t we all just act like normal regular everyday people in an attempt to suss out if I am regular and normal and that I have the capacity to work the position I am interviewing for?
The interviewer at the shoe store I was at, after I told her that I had been offered a full-time job with the cell phone company started to get real with me and told me herself that the questions were stupid. Now granted, this isn’t at a job in an office or anything, but let’s be serious, they’d ask those same random questions to. Along with, “What is your biggest flaw?” Can’t I just sit down and be real with someone? Obviously I have flaws, obviously the person interviewing me has flaws, like let’s be serious.
For once I’d like to just send a cover letter that is honest and highlights both what I’m good at and things that I suck at equally. I wish I could write one that allows me to acknowledge the gaping holes in my resume, you know, like the lack of any kind of administrative/sales/real life experience. A lot of the jobs I’ve been applying to are with NGOs and Not-for-profit organizations and they are EXACTLY what I’d like to do and honestly, I don’t possess a ton of the skills they want, but I do have drive and c’mon now, as if I couldn’t get the hang of a job if you threw me in there. Trying to explain this in a round about way that doesn’t allow me to even touch on the things I’m shit at probably makes these guys laugh out loud when they read my cover letter.
I’d just like to send a cover letter that reads like something I’d actually write, with not as much fluff and more truth than half truth. Something like….this….
I’m applying for the blankity blank blank position. I am genuinely interested in this position and working for a company such as yours. Even though my degree is in history and that has nothing to do with international development or relations.
I have studied a plethora of subjects at university, but let’s face it, that was 4 years ago and who was sober enough to remember everything they actually studied in University the moment they graduated, let alone 4 years down the road. I think if I was thrown into a situation where the knowledge I attained was actually needed, I’d re-learn it pretty quickly. As well, let’s face it, I have a University degree so that does say something about my intellectual abilities. I do realize that a lot of idiots do graduate from University with degrees, but the fact that I am able to realize that there are idiots with degrees should say that my intelligence is at least decent, or that I’m a pompous asshole. You decide.
In addition to my potentially greater than average intelligence, I have spent the last 4 years working as an Assistant Language Teacher for the Japanese government. Ya, that’s right, I lived in Japan, how cool is that? Now, granted, teaching English doesn’t really fall into any kind of category that gives me skills to say, help with a community development program in Bangladesh but it did make me realize that there is an international community that I’d like to be a part of and help out. I went to Japan, speaking zero Japanese, never having taught a thing in my life and in the end stayed 4 years and I left on my own, not because I was fired. So, hey, that’s pretty awesome isn’t it?
As far as the other positions on my resume, well, they were all before I had a degree. As much as I could have worked an admin position for minimum wage, that would have given me better experience with which to obtain a sweet job such as the position I am currently applying for, I chose the money. Steel factory money is WAY better than being a receptionist or lackey or even a waiter. So yes, I can see how you look at those 6 years and think, hmmm, steel factory? Really? But know that had I had the opportunity to score a sweet job with you guys that would have paid me more, I would have taken it.
Hopefully this letter along with my resume will interest you enough in me that you will give me a call and give me an interview. If not, that’s cool. But at least have the courtesy to send me an email that says something along the lines of, “Please fuck off.”