Comic Belief

My own bloggable spin on life

Archive for the tag “english major”

What My Cover Letter Should Really Say

June 24, 2012

Mr. Important Person
Important Company, Inc.
Atlanta, GA -related zip code-

Dear Mr. Important Person,

I am writing to express my interest in ANYTHING that will pay me a substantial amount of money at ANY COMPANY that is willing to hire me to do ANYTHING RELEVANT to my college major and/or life experience. I am not particularly gifted, but hell, if you’re willing to pay me, I can learn. My strengths include the ability to go without sleep for long periods of time in order to get work accomplished despite the fact that I end up resembling a meth-addicted zombie by the end of it, the ability to manipulate anything written to make it sound appealing whether I am knowledgeable in the subject or not, and extensive computer proficiency due to a solid eight years of procrastinating from homework by wasting countless hours on the internet.

If you are still reading this, which I doubt you are since you probably have letters to read from applicants who are actually qualified for this position, I would like to direct you to my resume, which is a brilliant masterpiece of the written word. Seriously, you should hire me solely based on fact that I made waiting tables sound like a professional art form. In all seriousness, putting up with customers in a restaurant more than qualifies me for so-called “customer relations.” Anyone can talk on the phone; I can look straight at a customer who is treating me as if I just tried to poison them because I brought out the wrong salad dressing and, with a smile on my face, say, “Oh, I’m sorry for that inconvenience, sir. Is there anything else I can get you?” even though in my head I want to find the nearest sharp object and stab him in the face with it. That’s focus under pressure, and I guarantee that makes me just as capable of dealing with people as someone who has sat behind a cubicle answering phones for the past five years.

As for a candidate with organizational skills, you can’t get more organized than someone with clinically diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder! You’ll never have to worry about losing a file, a memo, or as much as a PAPERCLIP ever again, since clutter affects me much like the Overlook Hotel affects Jack Torrence in The Shining. I organize everything from my clothes to random receipts from three years ago that I might for some reason need and don’t want to risk throwing away, so you’d never have to worry about some irresponsible dunce who might lose something. My attention to detail far exceeds that of a normal, sane person, and I would apply this knack of noticing things such as layers of dust on the underside of tables and stray pieces of string hanging from strangers’ clothing to correcting grammatical errors on important documents and analyzing marketing trends. Remember, I’m not just qualified—I’m diagnosed!

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize my main point, which is that I am completely and honestly desperate. I can learn just about anything if you pay me, and I will slave away doing mindless paperwork because I have student loans to pay off and IKEA furniture to purchase. Please have mercy upon my broke college graduate soul and grant me an interview so that I may dazzle you in-person with my charming personality and wit, which will surely secure me the position much more than a written letter could. Thank you for your consideration, although you likely have not considered a single thing but I have imagined you doing so anyway to keep me from becoming completely depressed and jumping off a bridge. Please call me. Seriously.

Yours with a Good Starting Salary and Decent Benefits,

Hannah Fowler
317 Still-Living-Here Rd.
Rome-Feel-Like-I’m-Gonna-Be-Here-Forever, GA 30161
dem digits
dat email


Now What?

I’ve always known that an English major was not directly associated with a promising career path, usually conjuring the image of the unsuccessful-yet-still-pretentious writer or, on the other end of the spectrum, the assumption of grad school to further the English major to make it more, well, useful. Almost every single time when someone asked me about my major, it would go something like this:

Random Person approaches me and attempts to make small talk about life, which inevitably leads to the question, “So, what’s your major?”

“I’m an English major,” I declare confidently, as I’m sure the connotation of my major must entail the long hours of research and detailed literature analyses which have made me so vastly intelligent.

“Oh,” Random Person replies with a slight raise of the eyebrows, “So you’re going to teach?”

This is the point where I either want to slam my face into my hand in frustration, or slam my hand into the other person’s face for being so presumptuous. After a while I got used to this response, so I say with as much enthusiasm as possible, “No, I actually like to write.”

“Aah,”Random Person says with an unmistakeable look of concern. “So you’re gonna, like, write books or something?”

Feigning as much confidence as possible, I respond, “Well, maybe one day, but I’m realistic enough to know I need a paycheck. I actually want to do editing and publishing in Atlanta or something.”

This is usually where the topic of my major ends, and the only response Random Person can usually muster is a repeated nod of the head and an, “Oooh, OK.”

As much as I try to convey the interesting qualities of pouring over documents and meticulously correcting grammatical errors, Random Person has already mentally condemned me to failure in the writing world, assuming that my only option is to teach. One nurse who I told about my major skipped the formality of questioning my career altogether, saying, “Oh, an English major? What grade are you going to teach?” Not that there’s anything wrong with being a teacher, as my entire family is full of them and they’re all brilliant, but aside from something I’d want to do abroad, I’ve never really been drawn to it. So, having graduated from college with a big fancy BACHELOR’S DEGREE, I assumed that it was time to find a stable editing or writing job in Atlanta with opportunities to interact with important authors and publishers and eventually move my way up to success as an independent young writer in the city.

“Wrong” might be something of an understatement. First of all, there is no such thing as an entry-level writing job. They are a complete myth, ranked with fairies, Bigfoot, and Diet Dr. Pepper, and anyone who says otherwise has either never looked for a job or is playing a cruel joke on you to get your hopes up so that you’ll finish school. It doesn’t help that I get my hopes up like a small child on Christmas Eve, and when I’m let down it’s like reality is slapping me in the face…with my degree. I felt accomplished enough just by completing my resume, and felt even more encouraged as I continued to apply for jobs online. Cover letter after cover letter of my “qualifications” and “experience” really just translated into “I’m desperate and I can write. Please hire me,” but since most of the jobs I’ve applied for require at least 2 years of experience, I’ve had little luck so far. Several times I’ve checked my email and my face has lit up with excitement at the words “Job Opportunity” or “We Reviewed Your Resume,” but upon closer inspection, all of them have been offering me various sales positions. Nothing wrong with sales, of course, but I did not go to college for four years and sign my life away to student loans to have a career in something I don’t care about.

SO, until then I will be writing as much online as possible when I have time. Articles, blogs, whatever it takes to build a portfolio, get my writing out there, and gain as much experience as possible. I may be a starving writer for a while, but at least I’m still a writer.

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