|Don’t Get That Job and Be Happy About It: The Cover Letter
By: Brian Keller
In part two of BMA’s blockbuster series “Don't Get That Job and Be Happy About It,” we take a final look, we hope, at some of the insanity and inanity that advertising and “regular folk” go through during the job application process. In this column, we land on more stupid questions and the dreaded cover letter. Remember, if the application is painful, just think about the job.
Now, before we get to the cover letter, let’s remember that most of us, if we’re smart, have online portfolios, personal websites, Facebook accounts, LinkedIn accounts, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, Pinterest accounts, WordPress accounts, Blogger accounts, Tumblr accounts, Reddit accounts, and a host of other social media accounts that may give a potential employer an idea of your skills, work, and personality. In fact, many employers ask for you to provide them links to some of your social media accounts. We think that’s great. You should make it as easy as possible for the HR personnel of faceless companies to pry into your personal lives. We suggest that you opt out of sending those links. We suggest that men just send college photos of public urination outside the frat house. We suggest that women send pictures of yourselves flashing for beads at Mardi Gras. These small blows against the empire will protect you from future employers seeing pictures of your meals at Denny’s and Applebee’s, which will damage you more than your urine and breasts ever could.
But wait! There’s more. After filling out all the information on the application and supplying links to your website, portfolio, (usually) two social media links, and supplying references, you get this: “Tell us why you are an awesome fit for the creative director position. Do something creative and original that will attract our attention and make us want to hire you.”
We suggest this answer: “In prison, I was able to get the Aryan Brotherhood, MS-13, Crips, Bloods, and Latin Kings to create a lasting peace that led to the successful distribution of drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol in the general population. I was also able to license stick-on gang tattoos to Target and Walmart, begin a reality show, and have Alex Bogusky ask me for a job.”
So you get that far in the job application and…
"Wave your hands in the air
Shake your derriere
These three words when you're gettin' busy
Whoomp there it is."
The cover letter request comes barreling out of the sky like a Pakistani jet. This vestigial artifact asks you to give your future employer insights on how you may function in the organization. You have about two paragraphs before most people glaze over and develop symptoms of clinical depression. Most of us can't function in the jobs we’re being pushed out of, and that's why we’re applying for other jobs. So now what? As a service, Beyond Madison Avenue has provided two free templates for you.
We will, for a small fee, also supply clean blood and urine.
Letters they deserve:
Template One (Assures that you won’t get the job)
The Obsequious boob
To Whom it May Concern:
Thank you so much for this opportunity to present myself to your magnificent company. Your work on internal cleansing products has led me on a life quest to have a healthy colon and eat plenty of fiber. While I was at Grand Valley Junction CC, we studied your agency and your contribution to advertising and your contribution to society as well. What amazes me about your company is the way you have used social media for your client Angel Paste by cyberponning (great name for online coupons). It’s amazing to know that all I have to do is buy 50 tubes of paste and turn in my 40 cyberpons and a schoolkid gets maybe some fairly new milk. You have managed to take a great product and great brand (Angel Paste) and make them green (the good green, not the moldy green) and sustainable and socially responsible and you don’t even use paper, which also saves a lot of baby seals.
I think that when I take my position as creative director (I was CD and head of Ad Club at GVJCC) I can contribute (with your leadership) almost immediately because I’ll have your leadership. I’m looking forward to working underneath you at all times.
Template Two (Assures that you won’t get the job)
The Pedantic Boob
To Whom it May Concern:
It is with wholehearted interest in helping your company that I write to you today as opposed to tomorrow. As you may well know, I have quite a reputation as a wordsmith in our industry, advertising. Not only have I written for everyone from Xerox to Montgomery Ward, I have done some of what the kids call "Facebooking" too. I think I have super phat, def jam crazy mad experience, yo!
I’ve decided to assist your company almost immediately with my many skill sets plus varied abilities. I believe that if you give me a graphic artist and some paste-up people, we can do great work for you. As David Ogilvy always said, “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.” I have always agreed with that and probably before anyone else, too. In any event, I see where a position given to me will help you move forward into the distant future, which is becoming nearer faster than you think possible. So, as Lee Clow said, “I found my own way of doing things.” I agree, and probably before anyone else, too.
I think I’m a good fit to run your agency creatively. When shall we schedule my interview? You seem to be far away. Do I fly first class?
Dear Future Employers,
We have a lot of information out there that we gladly produce and post so you may easily gather insights. Why don’t you use the same brainpower that made you successful enough to hire staff and actually get to know the people who are interested in your company by looking at them?
Please stop the redundant applications. Please stop asking for cover letters, which are really obsolete, and please start treating applicants like human beings. Thanks.
All of us who are looking
Follow us to freedom and use our tips on not getting that job and be happy about it, or we would tell everyone to stop applying today. Stop applying for just one day and see what happens.
Brian Keller is the Creative Director at teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English), went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends University of Baltimore School of Law.
Brian's been working primarily in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.
He has built the creative departments at two agencies.
He likes skateboarding with his son. He also falls off his skateboard and amuses his son. When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.
Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com.