I'm looking for work.
The changed economy means that I'm finding I have to work much harder to get the attention of employers. It's something of an adjustment, as in the past I've gotten jobs easily. Send out a dozen resumes, get two or three calls back, get offered each job I interview for. (No, seriously, I've only ever been turned down for two jobs I actually interviewed for - one based on a failed proofreading test I took with a 101 degree fever. Though I suspect that the interviews will be harder this time around, as well.)
So I decided I need to write stronger cover letters.
I picked out the employer I most want to work for in Dallas, and sent them this:
I sent you my portfolio and some links earlier this week, and am following up with an updated resume.
It occurs to me there are a few things that might not be apparent from my resume. I have a lot to offer any creative team, and would be an asset to [the Company].
For example, my resume can't tell you that when I was a baby, a stranger walked up to my mother on the beach and composed a spontaneous poem about me - and because of this, she always knew I would be a writer. It would not tell you that the single piece of writing I am most proud of is not one of my published poems, or an ad I wrote for my multi-million dollar LaQuinta campaign - but the essay on my fundraiser page for the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk.
My resume can tell you I've worked as Chef, and as a Massage Therapist - but it may not tell you what that brings to my work in advertising and marketing. As a Chef, I learned not only about food, but about the business cycles of the restaurant industry, about how to appeal to a client there, and about the importance of dealing with customer complaints because you need a dozen happy customers to make up for the damage one unhappy one can do. I also learned about balancing customer expectation with my own creative expression. As a Massage Therapist, I not only became comfortable with medical terminology, and the pain management industry, but I learned how to approach clients who are making themselves vulnerable. How to build trust, and establish expertise in the 3-5 minutes I have with them before they have to let me touch them.
It may be clear from my resume that I learned about poetry - but it does not tell you that the honors English teacher I had in 10th grade taught us to write 10-12 page research papers, and to properly cite resources. To work quotes seamlessly into my writing and yet still establish my own perspective. Then the following year, the honors English teacher for 11th grade (and the 10th grade teachers best friend) refused to read past the third page - teaching us to distill our ideas and write with concision.
It also does not tell you that I have a strong visual aesthetic, which, in my experience, is not a given in a writer. That when I took the proofreading exam at Michael's, I was the first proofreader who caught the visual errors. One was an incorrect product image, intentionally placed. The other was an incorrect "burst," which I questioned because the edges of the layers were not lined up correctly - something which was an accidental error that the creator of the test had missed.
That visual sense was, in part, developed through the print shop courses I took in college. I learned to place hand-set type, to carve a linocut in reverse for printing, to lay out a booklet. I also learned a few basic principles of type design and layout. It's amazing that, with the advanced software we have, many of the principles are still the same and much of the way that a program like Quark works is based on the insertion of lead and kerns, or the layering of a multi-color lithograph.
I hope this gives you a better sense of who I am, and some of what I would bring to the job. Well, if nothing else, you are sure to understand my enthusiasm for the opportunity.
- Laura Deerfield
It's long, yes. But personal. I hope this at least gets me a call - if not, I can use it as a basis for other letters, to better communicate my unique qualifications to employers.