You Can Drag A Horse to Water But You Can't Make Her Write a Meaningful Sentence (Or Can You?)

Or Cover Letters: Not That Bad?

For me, conceptually, cover letters and resumes are The Worst. Meaningless salutations ("To whom it may concern"), formulaic paragraphs that relate my personal identity to some boring job posted on the internet? Some unknown human is going to read this embarrassing letter? "Kill me now" is my official stance on job applications. I'm obviously not alone in this.

For some people, who I imagine must be both highly motivated and mostly or completely unemployed, cover letter tweaking and dispatching is a robotic nothing experience that they do for many hours each day, until they are offered a job or have to start working at a coffee shop. These people, I imagine, know what they want and have some baseline of qualifying skills, so they are just doing essentially the same thing, over and over again. They aren't casting about in the dark for any possible handhold, like I have been, and so they can be robots--whereas I must fabricate a bridge to each opportunity and hope everyone involved will join me in my wishful thinking, accept my persuasive tactics long enough to hire me. Writing the sentences, or even the basic sentiments one by one can be like forcing myself to tiptoe across a floor totally covered in broken glass, trying to land on the few safe centimeters of space.

Kill me now.

But I've been practicing this process for a while now, off and on, and so there aren't so many gaps to fill in the resume. I've had one cover letter that got a response, so I know now that I'm not fishing in a lake that is biologically dead, just one that's heavily over-fished. And what I've learned, with all this, is that resumes and cover letters can actually make me feel better about the lackluster jobs I've been spending all my time on. I realize that these jobs where I spend so much time doing nothing have actually imparted a number of useful skills. Despite the downtime, I have had many responsibilities.

So that one successful cover letter of my life thus far. This specific posting didn't require a cover letter, but I figured, I can do this, I can do this (just fucking do it), I can write a few sentences about why I want this tiny part-time job in the few minutes before I get out of work and walk to other work (an exciting Friday night). At the interview, she asked me if I was interested in going into that field, and I said I wasn't sure, but maybe. I wanted to find out. She told me she liked my letter, that it was confident. I got the job. (This was in September.)

The job is only nine hours a week, though, and so I hope they won't care too much if I find something that pays for a full life. And next time I get an interview, I will say YES I want to go into the field. Let's throw ourselves off the cliff, guys. We can always back out later when the going gets mind-numbingly awful. Or before then--file that under "Things I Need to Work On."

No comments: