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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tone

This past week I have been working feverishly on a cover letter for a dream job- which, of course, is an unpaid position. The dream job is a business internship with my favorite blog, A Practical Wedding.

Writing this cover letter has been daunting and frustrating and . . .well, enlightening. If you peruse my archives, you can see just how much I hate writing cover letters. I didn't particularly enjoy writing this one, but the challenges I faced this time were a bit different than those presented by cover letters of yore. Striking the proper balance in tone has been incredibly difficult. Formal vs. informal, forward vs. respectful, enthusiastic vs. desperate, etc.

First off, this is a non-traditional, creative professional career. So cover letters should be more creative to start. The only real help I ever got for my cover letters was from people in very traditional industries, using very formal tone. Their advice was always spot-on. . .for entirely different purposes than I have now. I need to convey a LOT more personality in this letter. After all, it's my undying charm that will get me the job, right? Right?!

Secondly, I really want an interview. I am far more confident in interviews than in cover letters, and can better explain myself off-the-cuff than I can when I overthink my words. I also want to present myself confidently and ask for what I want. On the other hand, I don't actually know the editors, however much it feels like I do. Which means I need to be careful about treading the line between forward and obnoxious. But I really want an interview.

And finally, as you may have ascertained, I'm incredibly hopeful about this opportunity. I want it bad. And I feel like a great candidate for the position. I may not have tons of graphic design or web experience, but if the only specific qualification they ask for is a desire to learn, no one can beat my desire. However, as a huge fan of their work, I'm keen to avoid fawning over the blog and the job. I don't want this job just so I can say I worked at APW. I want this job because I have the utmost respect for this team of editors, and if I wish to follow in their footsteps, well by gosh I should learn straight from them!

Creating a more personal cover letter, on the whole, has allowed- well, forced- me to think more carefully about where I am and where I want to go. Anyone can pick up technical skills, but why am I in particular the best fit for this position? Also, not only is this a job where they might look at my online profiles, they actually ASK for my Twitter handle and blog address. So APW editors, if you're reading this, welcome. Take a stroll through the archives, and feel free to contact me at any time with further questions. Or an offer to interview.