In addition to the writing of fiction, I’m trying to do something very important, albeit much shorter. I have to write about me. If you’ve ever looked at the About Cedar page on this blog, you’ll know that I don’t like to do that. My biography which appears on Amazon and various other sites? Was written by the First Reader. I’m terrible at writing promoting me.
I can promote my books, because they are a product I’m trying to sell, and I have confidence in them. They’re good stuff, light, fun reads, and if you like the genres I write in, you should give them a try. (Some few of you may know the one book I don’t promote). But promoting myself? Yeah, no.
But what else is a cover letter? It’s a short sales blurb selling me as the product. And I have a terrible time writing them. I have two I must do today. I’ve been taking the spray and pray approach to job applications since the graduation until today – sending out my resume and a cover letter to any jobs that came open and I was qualified for – and it’s not working. But yesterday two jobs came across my desk through connections, and those are far more likely to net me an interview, if I can get the cover letter good enough that they will actually look at the resume. I’m comfortable with the resume, as my school offered help with that, and it’s been worked on by a professional as well as myself. One of my professors is sending me a letter of recommendation, which is a very nice thing for him to do.
I’d picked up a book, Jan Pechenik’s A Short Guide to Writing About Biology to read and do exercises from and was delighted to discover that he has a section on writing cover letters and resumes. I’ll take a look at that today, for ideas. I have one letter I’d drafted and had help with (from the careers lady at school) and I have been modifying that as needed. But I feel like I need to step up my game.
It’s not like I can construct this the way I could an essay, or a piece of fiction, right?
sentence one: the hook
Nope. I can’t even do it jokingly. Makes me cringe internally. I’d better stick to the dispassionate style I’ve been using.
Sentence one: the introduction
I learned about the xxxxxx position from xxxxsource. I am a recent graduate…
Body: Specific to position
I believe that my specific training in molecular techniques would enable me to do the tasks assigned. In addition, four years of lab experience, alongside classes in bioinformatics, epidemiology and microbiology, mean that I would be a good fit for the position. In the past, I have been an asset to teams, working well with others and solving problems independently when needed.
Final sentence: call to action
(ok, yes, I do have training in sales writing. I just don’t like the style much)
I look forward to speaking with you further on this matter.
I know, I need one more sentence in that body, talking about the specific ways I was an asset in previous jobs. It feels like bragging, so I’m struggling with it. I’m struggling with all of it. I just want to get a job, do my usual thing, and buckle down to working which I like. Looking for work? Not so much. But I’m stubborn. I’ll keep at this. I want a career as a scientist, I will make it work. Even if I have to boast about myself. So many “I”s in this…
2 thoughts on “Job Hunting”
As Jonathan said, write as if it someone else you were doing it for. I will add that first you describe this person’s good traits, and describe why you should hire them, and then be truthful and describe the negative traits as well. And then during the first edit delete the negative traits.
And I agree, this is not easy to do. I have tried to not think of it as bragging, but more of just telling the truth.
I will try to do that. I always do my best to be honest, it’s just hard not to be self-deprecating.
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