Writer’s Note: Years ago, just out of college, I submitted this cover letter to the HR department at a food delivery app company in an attempt to get my first copywriting job. I was completely unqualified for the job but in desperate need of a new gig, so I hoped this cover letter would distract from my lackluster resume and differentiate me from my competition. They did not email me back.
Dear Hiring Manager:
Applying for a job is a daunting task. You make yourself completely vulnerable to total strangers and put yourself at the mercy of their judgment. You have to convince other people that not only do they want you around, but they want to pay money to spend time with you and listen to you talk. You have to show them what makes you better than the guy next to you in the identical suit with the same look of hopefulness and faint scent of nervous B.O. Especially when it’s a job that you think you’re perfect for. (To be clear, I’m talking about the Copywriting job and me, Katie. Minus the B.O. part. That’s about some other guy.)
You start by writing it all down on a piece of paper.
“Katie is hard-working, has excellent communications skills, and will always show up on time even after everyone is comfortable with her and she could probably get away with sneaking in a few minutes late. If you have a company potluck, she is probably going to bring bruschetta because that’s the only thing she knows how to make, but you won’t get sick of it because she only sometimes adds pine nuts. She does not click her pen or pop her gum, nor will she microwave three day old tilapia in the office kitchen the day after the company holiday party, the one that caused everybody to show up to work an hour late wearing sunglasses. She is also proficient in Microsoft Office Suite.”
It’s a sobering task to look at all of your best qualities listed in one place for easy review. I read about a company that makes employees wear a photo ID and a list of their qualifications on a card around their neck at all times, so that no one is overstepping their abilities. Open communication seems like a better method than public shaming, but this is coming from the person that would probably feel self-conscious about having to wear “Worked at an inflatable bouncy house in college” around her neck at corporate meetings, especially when seated next to “Interned at NASA” and “Luis Guzman’s cousin’s paralegal.”
Once you make it through the resume stage, you have to interview. This can mean an informal phone conversation with HR or being grilled in front of a panel of menacing executives and that one guy from accounting that weaseled his way in because he asks the tough questions and looks angry even when he smiles. The latter being a good cop/bad cop scenario except they’re all bad and none of them are cops. Interviews are intimidating, but instructive as to what to expect from the company and what they can expect from you. I once went on a working interview where the interviewer and I waited in line for ten minutes to try to sell White Sox tickets to irritated Burger King employees. We didn’t sell the tickets, but I was offered the job, which ended up being part-time and 100% commission. I didn’t take the offer for obvious reasons, but also because the interviewer made a “That’s What She Said” joke, which was inappropriate for an interview, but mostly just not that clever. I would repeat it here, but I don’t get my jobs with dirty jokes. I can’t believe you’d even ask.
To continue this section of non sequitors and backdoor-brags: I’ve worked at a few companies since then, making a name for myself in the administrative field. This has taught me how to juggle several time-sensitive responsibilities and prioritize multiple tasks. I have gained a lot of experience working in an office setting as part of a team. I can also tie my shoe in under a second. You can decide if you’re impressed by that.
I’ve been a writer since I’ve been able to hold a pen, and I have a meticulous eye for detail. I try to inform and inspire, and create engaging, quality material. I’m looking to bring this to your company and the field of copywriting. And don’t forget the bruschetta. You don’t want pine nuts, you don’t have to have them. I’m flexible.
I work very hard at everything I do, and I love to learn new skills and develop those I already possess. My writing skills are malleable and I work well under pressure to meet deadlines. I would be an asset to your company, and I believe I am a great candidate for the Copywriter position.
I have also won your food giveaway contest no less than four times. Thank you for all the horchata.