On the Cover Letter

Sure, I have been away from technology for about nine days now, and sure it’s been lovely to not have to worry about when I need to get up and what I have to accomplish in a given day. But I most certainly was not poolside or sipping pina coladas in the sand. Instead, I was in good old Madison, New Jersey for the majority of my spring break. I spent my first weekend at Colgate University, a school 1/10 the size of our own Ann Arbor abode and one that is arguably just as cold tucked away in the mountains of upstate New York. From there, I warmed my buns on the Jersey Shore, which wasn’t quite as toasty as it would be in the summer. Oh, and it snowed, again.

What does this — or anything about my wild spring break — have to do with writing? Nothing, I just thought I’d share.

The rest of my vacation, though, was a little more relevant. I had two interviews in New York City, one with a volunteer management company, the other with a District Attorney’s office. I also applied to a few more random places, marketing myself as the perfect candidate for a position in everything from writing to statistics, hoping none of them would realize that I have no idea what or who I am. The variety made writing, tweaking, writing and tweaking the ever-daunting cover letter all the more difficult. I found myself even questioning my own writing ability in those moments. Normally, the challenge is finding “dream jobs” that do my talent and passion justice while also bringing in some sort of monetary funds. Sure. But here I was, trying to sell myself as a writer or to sell my writing talent as a part of what makes me a good employee … and I couldn’t even find the words to do so.

Cover letters are formal, and over these last few years of writing I have strayed so very far away from formal. Even my research papers now have some element of creativity, my voice now strong enough that I seek to throw a little entertainment at the poor GSI who needs to sludge through stacks of papers. And if cover letters aren’t formal, they are definitely formulaic.

Hi, I am Jane Doe and I am majoring in something at X University

I heard about your company from Y.

My experiences make me Z.

I have A, B, C and D skills that make me a strong candidate for this position.

I look forward to hearing back from you. I can be reached at (123) 456-7890 or by email at janeydoey@xuniversity.edu

I am wondering, then, how to make cover letters more interesting or at the very least less painful. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to send em my way! Otherwise, I’ll be here, sending the same old crap hoping that someone, anyone, will find my hockey writing self enticing enough to hire me as an event planner .. or a tweeter .. or a … anything really.

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