Dear Recruiter, in Case You Won’t
Reply, I’m Prepared to Be Ignored
I’m applying for the Jack-of-All-Trades position, as advertised. Please find my resume enclosed. (Apparently, you need to be told that it’s attached). Since you’ve failed to find a fit for this job, and your boss is up to your ass about it, consider me your rescue line.
You’ll see that I’m a bargain candidate, whose experience at way more prestigious institutions than yours will have to be checked in at your desk. Such disclosure places me in the insufferable asshole bracket, while also inconveniently aging me above your average employee.
‘Whoever believes that great advancement and new benefits make men forget old injuries is mistaken,’ wrote Niccolò Machiavelli in The Prince. Even as the economy has been rigged for those who don’t need them, there are lots of jobs around. Underpaid, temporary, benefit-less, but plenty of them. Which means that those without one for a while won’t forget their injuries any time soon.
Those hordes are split between those who continue shadowboxing and those who couldn’t be bothered. Whether a redemption is in the works for either of them, they’re passed such concerns, busy sending out resumes, killing time, or improvising new ways to despair.
It’s not a pretty picture, that of the unemployed, even before he or she’s convinced they’re also unemployable. So it’s downright Machiavellian to put on the spot those whose skills selling themselves are appalling and are even worse at putting it all on writing.
Hence, the feared cover letter, which anyone with a toe in the labor market will tell you, beats building a stellar resume in the difficulty scale. It also heaps undue regard to the corporate recruiter, or a robot acting as such, who’re merely the company’s first line of diversion.
Currently, I’ve been working on a more or less steady but freelance basis for three other organizations, which pay ridiculously low rates and have no intention of hiring me for a full-time schedule, despite requiring around the clock on-call availability.
I’ve also been taking classes in subjects completely unrelated to my professional field, as a way of avoiding cobwebs. But that may put me and my florid resume in the toilet, er, category of potentially ‘difficult’ hires, a fact that you’d never ever disclose to me.
It was horrible when JPMorgan, once again, laughed at everyone else’s face, about a letter it’d received from ‘Mark,’ a few years back, asking for a job. As usual, a chorus of the self-entitled Masters of the Universe joined in the collective mockery, as did their media cronies.
‘I am unequivocally the most unflaggingly hard worker I know, and I love self-improvement.I have always felt that my time should be spent wisely, so I continuously challenge myself,’ wrote the poor guy, hardly expecting his epistolary plea to be dragged through the mud.
The hahahas cruelly proceeded and his choice of words is now part of a corollary of pseudo-rules about what not to include in cover letters, even though they are as alien to what the position is about, as the recruiter is clueless about the candidates’ professional qualifications.
We grant it, some are indeed funny, (more)
* The Far-Out Job Report
* Medieval Crafts
* Help Unwanted
while others suffer from acute senselessness, and many are simply beside the point. But we’re wary of lending even half a sneer to a debauchery feast over the weak or the excluded. The same principle that leads us to befriend the janitors first.
Throughout my career, I’ve strived to perform with the utmost sense of professionalism and ethics, an attitude that clearly has led me to absolutely nowhere. It also explains why there are no salary requirements in this cover letter (Have I mentioned that I’m running a sale?)
From this point on, your eyes are already wandering away from my oh so carefully worded qualifications, so whatever I add here will be surely overlooked or, at the very least, skimmed through. That’s why, leadership skills, blah blah blah, team player, blah blah blah.
‘The man who only lives for making money, lives a life that isn’t necessarily sunny,’ wrote Ira Gershwin in Nice Work If You Can Get It. The irony applies: don’t apply if you’re not who we’re looking for. Who is that? We’ll find out soon enough but probably won’t tell you.
A number of sites will teach you what to write on a cover letter, for a monthly fee, as long as you surrender your email address, along with your card number. Then again, we aren’t sure about them too: they seem more eager at getting your data than finding you a job.
It’s the old story; the guy who’s selling books telling you all the secrets about how to get a job isn’t giving away a secret of his own. He may even help you along, but the main point of selling the book is primarily to give employment to one single person: himself.
Who can blame him? On the other hand, some may need it. ‘The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified, was too much for me,’ wrote Charles Bukowski. Fortunately for us, one day he quit his day jobs for good.
Still, I’ll add a few irrelevant details anyway, while you check your messages, hoping they will jump out of the page, which they won’t. Foolishly, I believe that my fluency in Southern Hindi and familiarity with Middle Earth minutia will somehow impress you. Not a chance.
Having exhausted my repertory of prefab advisory tidbits – learned by parting with big chunks of cash to a variety of vulture outfits in the job hunting and advising market – I devise a few hopeless closing thoughts, in a final bid to have you returning my calls.
(The dude you could easily use to save face,
but probably won’t, since you still have 700 resumes to go
through and find someone else even cheaper).
(*) Originally published on Jan. 22, 2015.