Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cover Letter Courtesy

So after entirely too many years of education I am working two jobs that do not have anything to do with my education. Crappy economy, yes I know. However, there still seem to be a number of jobs out there that I am qualified for, I know this, because I apply for them daily. Many of these jobs require a cover letter describing why I am suited to the employment they are offering. Now I know it would be silly to apply to a job without a cover letter, however, jobs that just require a resume, you can usually send a standard form cover letter, which you have drafted previously, and make minor changes, such as date and employer address.

Personalized cover letters however, take me some time. I sit and think about the job and think about the skills required for the job and the skills I have and how best to analogize the two to show that I am the best candidate for the job. This can some times take me up to half an hour, and I am by no means an idiot.

Now most of these cover letters are what you would call "normal," describing my work history and why it makes me a good candidate to work in the future for said employer.

EXAMPLE "In my most recent position with "X" I learned how to effectively communicate with people of varying backgrounds and ranges of understanding. As a hearing representative I would deal with both represented and unrepresented workers' compensation claimant. These claimants would vary from day laborers who speak no English, to medical doctors, to anything in between. It was my job to obtain a clear and concise history from each claimant to establish whether or not "X" would be responsible for their case. Through my time with "X" I learned how to interview varying individuals quickly, concisely and in a manner in which each claimant felt he or she could be frank with me. I feel that this experience makes me an excellent candidate for position "Y.""

However, sometimes, in writing 10 or 15 of these cover letters in a week gets boring, and mind numbing. And sometimes I apply for jobs that I know I will not get (e.g. they required 5 years experience or that I be number 1 in my class' grades), and I figure maybe I can at least get an interview if I entertain them in my cover letter.

EXAMPLE "I am an excellent candidate for dealing with new and challenging experiences. I am a quick learner and learn new tasks with remarkable speed. In high school, I worked on a farm one summer and the first task we were assigned was to "wrassle" up the sheep to be sheared. I had never "wrassled" sheep before and did not know that the task could prove difficult if one weighed approximately the same amount as the sheep one was trying to "wrassle." However, within three tries I was successfully tackling sheep and pushing them toward the conveyor which led them on to their annual haircuts. I feel that my willingness to try new things and the speed at which I assimilate new task would make me an outstanding candidate for position "Y."

However, regardless the cover letter. I only get a response from 1% of the applications I send out. Now I know that it is a crap economy and it is the employer's world. But I still feel that each of these companies, firms, agencies, etc., MUST have a standard form rejection letter on hand...

EXAMPLE "Dear Candidate "X." Thank you for applying for position "Y." Company "Z" received many qualified applications for this job, and regretfully cannot hire all of the applicants. While your accomplishments are noteworthy, Company "Z" has hired an individual it feels is better suited to the position. Company "Z" wishes you the best of luck in your employment search" x______________ (which is then stamped with a signature stamp by an underpaid secretary)

See. That took me 1 minute. 60 seconds. Maybe I could do that as a job, write standard form rejection letters for various and sundry companies so that the world will feel less suicidal as a whole.

And really, who doesn't at least write you a 60 second letter about the sheep wrassling experience when you're applying to a law firm worth billions? That didn't even get a giggle out of the underpaid secretary reading it?

1 comment:

  1. I once had a company email me a rejection letter that was sent back to their office as undeliverable (they had the address wrong)! That shows a dedication to tell me "fuck off"!


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