The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Monday, August 31, 2009

No More Words

Posted by Seeking Solace |

There is this non faculty position that I applied for back in January that was pulled due to budget issues. Just the other day, the University re-posted the position. When I applied the first time, my materials made it the hiring committee. So, I decided I would take a look at my old cover letter and clean it up a little so that I look at little more desirable.

Remember the movie "Waiting to Exhale"? Whitney Houston sang the theme song which was written by Babyface. It was called Exhale (Shoop, Shoop) ). There's this story that when Whitney read the hook to the song and saw all the "Shoops" she was concerned that the song would not work and that Babyface had run out of words. Well, the song became a hit, Shoops and all.

I often wonder if I have run out of words. No, I am not going to fill my cover letter with Shoops, but I do wonder if I am just saying the same thing over and over again with little result. I do keep every cover letter I write, often cutting and pasting to fit the needs of the latest job prospect. In cases where I don't have a cover letter to cut and paste, I write little snipets of phases and incomplete sentences that link my skills with what the employers wants. Ultimately, I can string the pieces together into a coherent whole. But, I think I need something with a little more punch; something that grabs that persons attention that says "Hey! Hire me!!!" without literally saying it.

I could try something non conventional; I was considering using this quote from Hemingway which is absolutely perfect for this particular position. (OK, I am not a fan, apologies to Husband who is a huge fan) But, I don't was to sound cheesy, weird or possible offend someone who thinks that Hemingway is the Anti-Christ. (OK, the last one might be a little strong). The point is, where do you draw the line at writing the same old boring crap and being bold and fresh? In the cover letter situation, this is quite a fine line to walk. After all, that is your chance to make your first impression. After all, it's super competitive out there. And, I want to use every single tool in my arsenal.

But, words are all I have....


The Grand Inquisitor said...

I had the same issue fresh out of law school, don't know that I ever solved it. I just keep going back to my present employer's office so much that it became easier to hire me and get some work out of me since i was going to be there anyway. good luck wish i could help

shrinkykitten said...

i read a cover letter recently that used a quote really poorly. if you can figure out how to weave it in seamlessly so that it doesn't seem like it's trying too hard - go for it.

after having read a ton of letters and participating in interviews my rec is stick to your skills. The cover letters that impressed me most were skills-based - bullet points that highlighted skills (and accomplishments) that related to the job description.

Seeking Solace said...

GI: I had the same problem when I was fresh out of law school too and again when I got laid off from a large firm. At lease in law you have the option of hanging up your own shingle.

Shrinky: I am so glad to hear from you!!! Hope you are well.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

true, but i am not sure hanging out my own shingle in today's economy would be a lot of fun.

Seeking Solace said...

No. I wouldn't try hanging out my own shingle right now. Even law firms are laying off people. Law used to be one of the somewhat recession proof careers.