Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cover Letter From Hell


Dear Sir/Madam

I read with interest your advertisement on, and would very much like to apply for the position. I attach a scanty and disjointed CV for your perusal.

In brief, I have been self-employed for several months now, but my employer has shown no interest in furthering my career prospects. It’s ironic, really- a former employer was funded in part by the United Nations, so I was UNemployed. Now I’ve gone lower-case. Before you get the impression that you can add –able to that word, I’d like to interject.

See, it’s been six months since I had a salary. You can imagine how that must be. Maybe. Think about it: How many months would you last before your painstakingly constructed universe fell apart if you were out of work? Well, I recognized that mine would have a sell-by date of perhaps two months, if I ignored the clothing account I’d opened in order to buy clothes. For work. Let it be said, that I was then, and remain, a hopeful, optimistic person. It has nothing to do with conceit, or self-deception, but I imagined that, given a diligent attitude and a winning smile, I’d quickly find another position.

And here I am, perhaps two or three hundred applications later. Unemployed. Of course, I made an effort to develop a sustainable income by spamming every single contact I had and reminding them, sometimes on my knees, only just managing to stop short of a cardboard sign, that I am a great writer.

Yeah. You’d think it would be easier? So much rubbish out there- so many campaigns cut and pasted from other ones, which weren’t that good to begin with; so much communication which appears to have been written by the same hard-working guy who writes instruction manuals for electronic goods. I can almost picture him, wishing he could use more adjectives, instead, having to tell people to connect wire-port A to machine cusp X, especially when neither of those parts are labeled in such a way in the plans, but there you go- that’s the thankless job of a writer.

Uh huh, you’d think it was easy to write, but it isn’t. Especially when the brief has more holes in it than a crocheted g-string, but I still love to do it. You know why? Because I had an affair. I used to do things like work behind a till in a bookshop, or check in cars to be serviced, but then my id seemed to take over. Bad id! I said, but ids are notoriously bad at listening, so it overruled me. It started to flirt with writing. An article here. A chapter of a book there. Nothing too serious. But, in the way of affairs, it caught up with me. Before I knew it I was maintaining two blogs, selling business writing, populating websites. It was as though I had a lifetime of wild oats I needed to sow, and didn’t care about the format or the context any more. Man. I just knew I had to write or be damned!

I’d looked at my expenses- you know- three children, rent, food and of course the usual debts we city-dwellers incur with our hedonistic lifestyles, and guessed at a figure I’d need to earn. I’m chuckling as I think of that, now, because I’d be happy with even half of that amount.

I digress. I’m impressed that you manage to stay sane in the position you are- having to discern with velour polo neck psychic powers the extent to which someone is employable from a CV. Are you kidding me? Mine looks like it was designed by dyslexic spiders. Hang on…

Sorry about that- homeless guy just knocked on the door, can you imagine! He wanted me to give him stuff. I’m tempted to ask him for his card in case I’m habitat-challenged quite soon.

Where was I? Ah. So you can pick up stuff from a CV, right? Well, I must have inadvertently added some typos. See, mine should read: multifaceted and experienced, but, judging from the lack of response, must actually read: mildly dysfunctional and smelly. I can’t understand why I’ve only ever had three responses after sending application after application.

I’d better not keep you. I suspect you have lots of emails to ignore, and facebook statuses (or is that stati?) to update.

Perhaps I’ll bump into you soon, but if not, I wish you well in your career. Feel free to keep my unglamorous tirade on file, for future reference.

Yours truly,


Please refer to cardboard sign for personal details.


  1. Another brilliant post -hope something finally gives & things turn around soon!

  2. Thanks, MeeA :)Keeping a daft grin on my face and pretending- but I know we all have challenges of different sorts...

  3. No words, I really hope that something turns up. In the meantime, keep writing.

  4. Thanks, patches, am always writing something...

  5. I'm so sorry to hear you're in this situation but DAMN are you an excellent creative writer.

  6. Delurking to say that what you are going through sucks big time. My husband was unemployed in 2009/2010. He was home for nearly 8 months. Was the worst thing he ever went through. I know that there are no good words in this situation. Just. Hang in there.
    And I think that you are a brilliant writer. Please don't stop. Ever.

  7. Thanks, Beck, and thank you, Julia, for delurking and saying kind stuff :) Hoping for some good news, soon...


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