Applying for freelance gigs can be a frustrating experience. There you are, humbly yet confidently asking for work while trying to walk the fine line of selling yourself and your sterling qualities while not coming across as an arrogant jerk.
It can also become mind-numbingly boring after you’ve written your umpteenth cover letter: “Dear Editor: My name is Blah Y. Blah, and I am writing to express my interest in the writer/editor/content manager position that you recently advertised on MediaBistro/JournalismJobs/craigslist/DesperateWritersRUs. I have more than a decade of experience in writing about fine wine/temporomandibular joint disorder/subprime mortages/potty training, and I believe that I could be an asset to your publication.”
After I’ve written a batch of such letters, I tend to get a little loopy. I start to type things like, “Please just hire me. Please please please please please.” Or “I am far less boring in person that this letter would lead you to believe, but they always told me to write a formal business letter in this way, and I’m still a little bit afraid of breaking the rules.” Or “I’m terrific! Hire me! You’ll love me! Really! And I promise this is the last time you’ll ever see this many exclamation points in my articles!” Or “I won my school spelling bee in 1986, so you can look forward to spelling-error-free copy from me…without even having to resort to Spellcheck.”
Of course, I always hit the Backspace key and delete, but sometimes I really am tempted to write a really far-out letter just to see if it catches anyone’s eye. I have to admit, though, that I actually have sent out a couple of queries with some more unusual details about me. I once mentioned in one application letter that I have amazing skill at drafting a fantasy baseball team (true), and in another letter, I admitted that I’m a preacher’s kid (also true…although I can’t take credit for that). Somewhere out there are people showing those letters to their colleagues, saying, “Wow. That took guts!” Okay, no. Probably the letters got deposited neatly in the circular file (virtual or real). But maybe one day someone, somewhere, will sit up and take notice.