Based on your cover letter would anyone be excited to meet you? No? Yeah, same, gf.
Did I sound qualified? Yes.
Did I sound boring? Yes.
But my bullet points were bland, and my use of “enthusiastic” and “motivated” were not motivating anyone to call my enthusiastic self.
I’ve always been a proud member of the “doin’ it for the rez” club, and that was proving not to be enough for the big kid world. Throw my application in with the rest of the resumes littered with extra curriculars and internships; this method was not working.
So I asked myself, why am I applying to these jobs in the first place? For the interviews I was getting, they were for jobs I knew I would hate, all in an effort to have a job lined up by graduation. I was being boring because I was bored with the job, already. And that’s when I decided the only way I was going to get an awesome job was to show how awesome I was. Throwing away all career advice I had ever been given, I was going to see what I could do with my best, most hidden skill – being myself.
1. “There’s nothing more unstoppable than a freight train full of fuck-yeah.”
Inspo courtesy of Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. I read it because there’s cussing on the cover. You should read it because there’s cussing on the cover. And it’s probably the best you-rock book ever.
Yes, I told myself. I’m doing this. I started applying only to companies that I was truly passionate about. If it would have me checking my email every hour for a response, I applied for it.
2. Write Like I Talk.
The first time I met the Lala co-founders Katherine and Molly, they told me that the best part about meeting a writer is already having an expectation of what they will be like based on how they write.
I would write like I was talking to my best friend… with impeccable grammar and a dash of elevated vocabulary, obviously. I wanted to sound like the person they needed to invite to happy hour but who they could trust to kick ass at the office the next day.
Thanks, girls, for all the happy hours when I’ve been in New York. See? This system was already working.
Then began the job search revamp. I wrote every single letter like a story. I was applying to this job because as a teenager with awful skin nothing made me feel better than an awesome lipstick, and I wanted to be in a position to help other women feel beautiful too. I applied to that job because my favorite part of working at a country club was seeing how every wedding I worked was so different, and I wanted to help people throw awesome events of their own. It was an experience here and a summer job there, but at least I wasn’t coming across as a sleep-deprived soon-to-be-grad (I was) who was spitting out resumes for the sake of getting just any job.
I had more than a great resume; I had a personal story that actually motivated me to want to do that job. Even if these letters were never read, writing them gave me the confidence to go into every interview with the same gusto, because maybe somebody did read it and liked me for it, and it was enough to get me to the next step.
Now I can’t tell you if this letter is the reason I got a job (but I did!), but it might get you yours. To do what you’re passionate about, you have to show why you’re passionate. Make the stranger reading that letter believe that you are worth the interview because of you, not just your qualifications. Because guess what? It’s you that will be sitting in that chair, not your resume.
Featured Image via Meredith Kress