Hire me…I’ll make you laugh, at least

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.


About jenniferlarsonwrites

I'm a freelance writer and editor based in Nashville, Tennessee. I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and a bachelor's degree in English from Rhodes College. I'm a born-and-bred Southerner who spent a few years in Southern California, a rabid baseball fan and a would-be grower of tomatoes. You can also visit me at LinkedIn or on Twitter at @JenniferLarson.
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4 Responses to Hire me…I’ll make you laugh, at least

  1. michellejbuss says:

    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

    Really? You are better than me, I just send them out when I get to that point (and I totally relate to what you are saying) I figure if nothing else they show a bit of personality. I always start out so formal but by the 2oth job letter no-one has responded to even to say no, I also hit that loopy point. I should really keep better track and work out if those have a higher percentage of replies.

  2. jenniferlarsonwrites says:

    Ha ha! Well, like I said, I have let a few loopier letter slip out. So far, I haven’t noticed any higher rate of response on those, but maybe I should make it a controlled experiment and track it, too. I’d like to believe in a world where a person would rather read a hire-me letter that shows some personality, like you said.

  3. Tom Sawyer says:

    Jennifer, you are a gifted writer and hilarious to read. 🙂 And, an “amazing skill at drafting a fantasy baseball team.” I would have never guessed in a million years. And, ah, a PK. 🙂 I didn’t know back in High School. Makes sense, now, though. You actually had your head on straight back then, unlike me. 🙂 Great to see who you have become. Hope you don’t mind if I read/comment from time to time.

  4. jenniferlarsonwrites says:

    Aw, thanks, Tom!
    I really am a crackerjack drafter. My problem is the Curse of the Shortstop. Which I will be blogging about shortly, so stay tuned!

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