Monday, January 16, 2012

A Message from the Ghost of Employment Future

Many of you will find yourselves graduating this semester and likely on the long arduous search for work. Some may have jobs that you held during the semesters while others might’ve focused solely on academics in lieu of a steady paycheck. Whatever the case, once you get your fancy-shmancy degree, you’re going to have to make it look like you’re a pro. I mean, you are a pro, but you gotta make them believe it. Your prospective employers.

Yeah, you got some wicked awesome grades. 3.5 GPA? Not everybody can boast that. Heck, it might even be just what your employer’s looking for. Your resume? It was pretty boss. It could just snag you that job.

But wait. I can see it now:

Mr. Future-Boss is thumbing through his latest wave of applications to position of Senior Fancy-Pants. He’s looking for a particular background with a particular set of skills, and, by George, you have all those particulars down like you’ve planned it all these years.

But you know what? He never sees your application. In fact, he tosses in the “Send to Incinerator” bin, the contents of which will be sent immediately to the incinerator where it will be converted into ashes and then returned to Mr. Future-Boss’s office where Mr. Future-Boss and his assistant will sip ginger ale and dance on the ashes.

I’ll answer your first question: I don’t know what kind of dance they’re doing, but if I had to guess I’d say the Charleston. To respond to your second query, I’d have to say that the reason why it got sent to the incinerator was because missing a key element. Not a crisp hundred-dollar bill paperclipped to the back of your application, but instead a cover letter.

Now I know nobody writes letters anymore except foppish dukes in powdered wigs, but that’s why this is called a cover letter. You don’t need to write a letter, but you sure as heck need a cover letter.

What does that entail? Well according to the Purdue OWL, you want to begin with a little bit of this:

  • State the university you attend, your major, and what position you are applying for (if you are a student).
  • Mention where you heard about the job.
  • Mention the name of a professor or other contact who has a positive connection with the company.
  • Bring up any previous conversations you have had with your reader (i.e., at a job fair).

Intros consist of some name dropping and fond reminiscence, or at least pretend fond reminiscence. Name dropping shows how connected you are and how enthusiastic you might be to get this job. Word of the wise: DO NOT GET WORDY. You want to be concise, to the point. It's fast paced world we live in folks and you don't want to get bogged down by wordy introductions and poorly-paced lead-ins that involve unnecessary information and--

Next, you want to kick it up a notch in the body, or the argument. This isn't where you argue that the one time you met your employer he was wearing two different color socks (it was a bad day for Mr. Future-Boss), but rather why you deserve this job, nay, why they deserve you. You're going to want to mention a few of these:

  • Special projects
  • Awards
  • Accomplishments

Talk yourself up. Big time. But don't lie or exaggerate. Mr. Future-Boss might have a pretty good idea whether or not you're in Mensa because he's the secretary at their meetings. He takes darn good attendance.

Feel ready to finish? Keep these things in mind:

  • Close with a strong reminder of why you are a good match for the job position and the organization.
  • Request an interview in some way.
  • Provide contact information.
  • Thank them!
  • Sign your name and print it underneath.

Mr. Future-Boss has what they call the short-term memory loss. He swears he's like Guy Pearce in Memento, but his assistant (and most people know better). Regardless, he's going to forget why you're a top candidate for Senior Fancy-Pants after he gets done reading the body. You also want to talk to him in the future--you know, to convince him further why you'd be the best Senior Fancy-Pants to come through in the last twenty years. You'll want to leave your name, number, and address in case he wants to don his powdered wig and write you back, and while you're at it sign the bottom so he can see how good of penmanship you have. Or see how good the handwriting is of your close friend who has good handwriting. Again, he might forget your name so a signature should remind him of it.

And thank him because Mr. Future-Boss is a busy man with little time to dawdle.

Need some visuals? Check 'em.

No comments:

Post a Comment