As I’ve been job hunting, I’ve written and rewritten about thirty professional cover letters, trying to tailor each to the positions to which I’ve applied. Along the way, I’ve remembered why I hate writing cover letters as much as people hate reading them. There’s no real truth in them (despite the true nature of all the included statements), and trying to understand someone from a professional letter is like attempting to learn how warm sand feels between your toes by staring at a picture of it.
The more I job hunt, the more I feel exhausted and drag my feet, because the less I feel like me. I don’t want to be a persona. I don’t want to be perfect on paper. I’m not perfect in real life. I want to be me, and I’m looking for a job that wants me for who I really am, not for how I look on paper.
But I’m not sure that exists.
As an exercise, I decided to write the cover letter I wish that I could write, with one exception. I decided I would not go back afterwards to rewrite any part of it, because then it would be less honest. I typed what felt true in the moment, in an attempt to cleanse my exhaustion, frustration, and boredom with this job hunt, and it was a lot of fun and rather telling.
Sadly, I like this totally ridiculous and completely unprofessional fake cover letter much better than all my other cover letters, despite how awful and wrong it is. I hesitated for several weeks to post this to my blog, because I didn’t want it to have a negative impact on my job hunting process. I’m not exactly sure they could or would find my writing social media, since I keep it separate, but it’s definitely possible.
In the end, I decided that I’m not giving up my creative writing world for any job, so should a potential employer find me here and not want to hire me because of it, then it’s the wrong job for me anyway. Perhaps that is foolish, but I’ll risk it on the off chance that a potential employer finds me here and actually accepts and appreciates this creative writing exercise for what it is and/or appreciates me for what I am.
Let me know what you think about the letter below. Would any of you fake hire me? 😉
Dear Job #43:
You are seriously understaffed, and I am seriously overqualified. Fortunately, whatever sent the last employee sprinting in the opposite direction screaming and flailing will logistically not get under my skin for at least 2.5 years, which is approximately the length of time it will take for me to get completely settled and become fully bored with the lack of variety and advancement that your position appears to offer (ahem). In that amount of time, I could help turn things around and set new standards, and instead of letting me escape, you could throw new challenges at me that inspire me to stay and grow with your company (imagine that).
But if not, I’m probably out of there.
The way I figure it, those could be the best 2.5 years of your professional life, so do you want to risk throwing them away on the off chance you can find someone else who is completely underqualified and totally undermotivated (Yes, I know those aren’t widely accepted as real words. It’s a mirror effect. Work with me) to do the job that I could rock at?
I would bring my brutally high standards (to which none of your other employees will ever remotely live up to, this I promise you) into your workplace and wield them to your benefit until the day I can afford to stay home and write, which is probably somewhere between the day I get married (pshaw!) and the day I have children (no chance in hell).
… not that I don’t like other people’s children, and I’m sure yours (if they exist) are lovely (or at least you probably think so)!
Totally kidding! Realistically, I’ll probably like your children better than you, because that’s how I roll.
So what can I do, you ask, besides break all grammatical rules in a way that is both attention grabbing and hopefully effective (at least in fiction writing, if not in cover letters)?
I can banish monsters from my nephew’s closet better than any other family member, and when he suddenly realizes he kind of liked the monsters and misses them, I can make them return with a wink and a snap.
My dog says I’m the best mom in the world, and I didn’t even bribe him with treats (okay, I did).
I fall in love with the characters I write in my novels, and I read myself into the most epic stories of all times.
I collect misfits, outcasts, nerds, and so called losers and send them back out into harsh reality clutching stories that might change their lives, or at least change the way they look at the world. Then I try not to cry when someone who said they hated reading finally finds a book to love.
I work hard, out of a desperate need to be good enough and a strong desire to have a positive impact and leave a lasting mark. I want to make everything I touch a little bit better (okay, a lot). I get bored easily and sit still poorly, but I’m really good with change, variety, challenge, and opportunity. I hate being held back by nonsense when I long to run forward. I’m horrifically impatient, but I mask it so well that my current admin says I’m one of the most patient teachers he knows. As if. *chuckles and shakes head*
When faced with a difficult situation, I overcome. I persevere, but I also know when to walk away, when to say enough is enough, how to say no.
No, I do not have all the answers, but yes, I will try to find them.
No, I will not let my job become my life, but yes, I do struggle with workaholic tendencies.
No, I can’t lift 25 pounds, but yes, I can still be a valuable employee despite that.
No, I don’t care where I will be in five years, as long as in that exact moment, I can say to myself, “I am here. I am happy here. This is exactly where I want to be today.”
Today I am here, but I long to be there. I am happy and sad. I am loved and hated. I exist and survive and struggle and thrive. I overthink. I will not apologize for that. Ever. That is who I am.
I have all of the dreams and reach for hopes, but truly believing is a struggle for me. It seems my deepest desires are often right outside my grasp. I look in to admire them but am not always sure how to obtain them. I’m quiet in chaos and loud amidst a silence that festers and burns. My skills are many and strange and trivialized when listed down, as if all that I am could be written in this letter.
I am more.
And also less.
But I try.
I need a change, and you do too. No matter who you hire, it will always be a risk. Good or bad, neither of us know, but whatever the case, I promise it will be memorable. I won’t call you, because you don’t really want me to, even though that’s protocol. You really want to just hire that guy that your current employee already recommended. That’s faster, easier, and you know who to blame, if it all falls apart. You’ll probably do that, but it’s too bad. I need this job, and you need a change (whether you think you do or not).
We could be epic together.
I like epic.
PS: I see the world differently but am fascinated by everyone’s varied perspectives. I can be fun and have a good sense of humor, but I’m also very serious and incredibly honest. I have a cute, stubborn dog I adore, because he has a kinder, more loving and forgiving soul than I do. I will bake you cookies (and accidentally eat a few before I bring them in), because I’m not above food bribery. You might even be written into my next novel, though it’s hard to say at this point if you would be the protagonist or the antagonist. Only time will tell.