October 13, 2009

Dear Hiring Personnel: New Life Goal

I hope that at the end of this phase in my life, I come away with a lot of new-found wisdom. People will ask me a question and I'll pause for a second, look away at a distant point only I can see, and then quietly and deliberately say something sage. They'll be in awe and wonder how someone can go from being a girl laughing at Wayne's World, to a woman laughing at Wayne's World and saying such wise things.

I have, however, already learned a very valuable lesson from the last five months. I have since found a new life goal. I have a dream--something to work toward and strive for. It is thus:

After I find a new job, I hope and dream that I will never, ever, ever have to write another cover letter in my life. Ever.

I don't particularly agree with a lot of things about how the business world is run (Don't get me started on the fact that I can't wear Chacos at 99% of the jobs out there), but how people are hired is the worst of it all. Basically, the cover letter is pointless and yet still required. Here's how my mind works when faced with the prospect of writing yet another cover letter:

Sigh. Another cover letter. Okay, so I'm supposed to make myself sound good and sell my abilities. I'm a writer, so you'd think this was easy, except I'm not a business writer. Summing up the whole of my skill and abilities in three strict paragraphs is stifling. And I can't even use sarcasm. But I need to catch their eye with this letter. How do I do that? Every person is different--some hiring personnel might like someone who throws off the chains of a normal cover letter format, while others may insist on strictly adhering to the three paragraph layout. AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHICH TYPE YOU'RE DEALING WITH.

Also, what's with companies posting a job listing but not telling you who they are? Or who you're addressing? If I were applying to a design firm, that would certainly be different than if I were applying to work with real estate agents. But I often don't know. All I know is that they need an assistant.

WHY ALL THE SECRECY? Do they think it's cute? Coy? Maybe it makes them seem mysterious, like I'm applying to be the assistant for a CIA spy, thus making me want to apply even more. Because who wouldn't want to be the assistant for a spy who wears dark suits every day and can kill people 37 different ways?

But no, I apply for these jobs and spend 20 minutes trying to sell myself in three paragraphs, only to get an email saying one of the following:

A) Thanks for applying, but this position is filled.
B) Thanks for applying. Please fill out this questionnaire, so we can send you information on how you can earn $5,000 a month from home!
C) Nothing. Ever. They never send an email and I'm left with the feeling of rejection that isn't even acknowledged with a "We got your application."

And so, after months of pointless job applications and writing more cover letters than I care to think about, I have a new dream. A dream of throwing off the confines of cover letters. First, though, I'll go apply for more jobs, sell myself in three paragraphs, and sell my dignity and creativity to The Man so I can get a steady paycheck to pay my bills.

But at least I have a goal, right?