Cover Letter: Uno

A very long time ago (AKA last year), I wrote an honest cover letter that I probably won’t send to an employer.

And I’ve thought a lot about that cover letter. I’ve thought a lot about cover letters and resumes and jobs and how difficult the job market is.

I know quite a bit about cover letters, and resumes. IRL, I have two business degrees, have participated in several job search workshops, reviewed resumes and job applications for more positions than I can count, and generally LOVE helping people find and get jobs.

And I haven’t written about it because I felt like it was boring. But, let’s face it. I’m an uber nerd and job searches are FUN. I have a good job that I really like, and I still scan through job postings every single day. I’m not joking. Every day. For fun.

So, I want to help. If you need help, let me know. I’m going to be writing about job searches and applications in the next few months, and I’m also going to start a business venture very soon. I’ll keep you guys posted.

Cover Letter Part 1

So, a legit cover letter.

First: actually write one. Is it just suggested in the application instructions? Sure, you could skip writing it. Or you could show that you’re an awesome overacheiver who totally is all about going above and beyond the call of duty. Application doesn’t mention one? Write one anyway. It shows that you’re a go-getter who knows their stuff. The only time that it’s not appropriate to send one is if they tell you that you shouldn’t. 

Second: write it in a formal business letter format. Boring? Yes. Needed? Even more yes. SO MUCH YES. 

Why? When you’re applying for a job: you don’t know who’s reading your stuff. So, they could be a totally non-traditional human-bean who LOVES an artistic interpretation of a cover letter. Or it could be someone who’s crazy traditional and won’t read your letter unless it’s in the proper format.

So, formal business letter. The Purdue Owl helps me with mine. Check it out here. (No need to reinvent the wheel. They do a good job of laying out how you do it.)

Third: clean up your image. An email address like mybrotherisapoophead@coolmail.com doesn’t make you look very employable. Get a professional email address. It makes you look like a grownup.

Fix your voice mail message. I know that most people just text today, and I’m an introvert. I look at my phone like it’s grown a head when it rings sometimes. When a potential employer calls and your voice mail message is you pretending to be Gollum from LOTR, it doesn’t make you look professional.

A good example of what you should say? I’m glad you asked.

“You’ve reached (your name). I’m sorry that I’m unable to take your call. Please leave a message at the tone and I’ll respond as soon as I can.” *click*

Soon, we’ll get into the nuts of bolts of letter contents. (THIS IS SO EXCITING!)

Let me know where you are in your job search. Are you looking for a job now? Do you have an interview?

Send me an email or leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do to help you out.

New

Everything is changing.

At my old office, I was the go-to person for almost anything you could think of. I knew how to get things done, and I knew how to get them done quickly and properly. I knew everyone, and I knew what they knew. I felt like the information mafia.

And then I got a new job. I’ve been at that new job for five weeks now, and I just now feel like I know what I’m doing 1/4 of the time. I am advising over 300 students, participating in five different programs. And I’m using new systems that are completely foreign to me. And I’m working at a university that I’ve worked at before, so there are policies and procedures that I don’t know anything about.

COFFEE

I have to drive on the interstate both ways to get to that job, and I’m almost kind of comfortable with that twenty minute drive. But when I get on the interstate, I have to literally talk to myself and say, “[i]t’s okay, it’s okay. You know what you’re doing.”

And we got a new car. And since that new car is new to me and isn’t that 25 year old Corolla that I’m used to driving, I don’t know where it begins and where it ends. I am not good at parking it. I don’t know where the blind spots are.

And stuff keeps making me sick to my stomach. And I’m pretty sure that it’s dairy. And it makes me really uncomfortable that I can’t eat and cheese and ice cream all the time like I want.

Does it sound like I’m having a break down? Maybe a little bit?

The truth is, at first, I was breaking down. I came home and only wanted to sleep when I came home. I may have cried a couple of times because I miss my friends from my old job. And may have cried the first time I drove the new car. And I may want to cry right now because all I want to do is each cheese. Just because I know I shouldn’t, but cheese tastes really good.

But now? Here’s the truth. I’m a proud person. I LOVE knowing everything and being able to help everyone. I hate change, and one of the biggest reasons that I hate change is because I don’t know anything when stuff changes. I don’t get to be the person in control. But change is good, because it reminds me that I don’t know anything anyway. God is in control.

In Jeremiah 29, it says:

10 This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Usually, we just hear the “for I know that plans I have for you” bit, and we don’t get the context. God was saying that He would fulfill His promise in 70 years. And His promise had to do with bringing His people back from exile. Where He wanted them to stay. For 70 years.

God is a bigger planner than me. He knows everything. He has a plan for everything. But that doesn’t mean that things are easy or don’t hurt. Because He uses pain. He uses us being uncomfortable to get us to remember to cling to Him.

So, I’m new. I don’t know anything. I just now know where all the bathrooms in my building are. And that’s great.

What don’t you know? How is God making you uncomfortable?

Cover Letter (an honest Cover Letter)

Although my years of cover letter writing experience are few, I have an extensive amount of training and I have read several. And by several, I mean… hundreds. I have edited those letters for friend, family, and colleagues, and I have screened them for filling positions.

Not so long ago, I spent a long time writing several cover letters. And I began to wonder what would happen if someone (I considered turning that “someone” into me) were to submit a cover letter like this.

Dear Hiring Manager:

Although there is a good chance that you will not read this letter, I have spent a great deal of time agonizing over its contents. I have tailored my language to match your job posting, although it was vague. I have also extensively researched your company, and have done my best to figure out if I could spend the majority of my waking hours following your mission. After all of my research, I’m still interested in the position, and I would like to be honest in my cover letter.

Although I don’t meet every one of your expectations, I meet most of them. I do not know how to use all of the software that is specific to your company, but I have spent a decent amount of time around computers. What I lack in experience, I make up for in a willingness to learn. I know that I don’t have ten years of professional experience, but I do have two degrees, and I have a wide range of skills. Paul told Timothy to not let people look down on him because of his age. I hope you agree with him. It’s not culturally acceptable to state this outright, but I am quite intelligent and pick up new concepts quickly. I am honest to the point of being blunt, and I’m not particularly exciting. But, my Momma and Daddy taught me to work hard, and I haven’t forgotten that lesson.

The position for which you are hiring sounds like something I would do well at. I may not look the best on paper, but I promise I’d give it everything that I could. I know that every candidate that a company chooses to hire is a risk. I am a risk worth taking.

Please, be willing to take a chance on me.

Please.

Sincerely,

Candidate

 

Cover letter-editted

Even though it’s tongue in cheek, this is what a cover letter needs to say. Except… in a more finessed manner. What’s your best cover letter story?

If you’d like actual help with a cover letter, see this post