Creating Outrageous Cover Letters
Bad Economy, Risky Cover Letter? Go Ahead!
Due to the current economic conditions in place across Canada and the United States, with people literally lining up for a single job by the hundreds, whether they are recent immigrants or laid off Wall Streeters, what do you have to lose by coming up with a creative, perhaps considered outrageous, cover letter? Not only could such a cover letter help you stand out amongst a sea of applicants, it could also prove quite therapeutic during these tumultuous times.
Here is an example of one such cover letter I sent to a publishing company. The publishing company specializes in local political satire, so it seems only appropriate that I come up with an outrageous cover letter demonstrating my skills in such an area.
The name of the said company and my personal I.D. will be protected. All references to company names have been fictionalized.
Outrageous Cover Letter: Publication Company
I came from what some would call typical origins. My parents were hopelessly middle, soon to be upper-middle class, overeducated, and micro-managed my life for as long as they could, which wasn’t long. I graduated High School with lower than average grades despite pulling all nighters studying. I must have set a record for the first and only High School student to receive multiple scholarships, yet couldn’t get admitted to university, to actually use such scholarships. How does that work you ask? It works when you win multiple contests in writing, geography, science, etc., yet fail every exam possible in the system. Apparently I was born with a hole in my head, 2nd percentile on the planet when it comes to working memory, yet well above average in everything else. Maybe my parents dropped me too much when I was a child, or rumor has it my sister hit me far too many times with a tin can when I was a toddler.
My parents paid an arm and a leg to have me hulled off to a privatized community college, where I was supposed to learn computer science. Instead we learned how to read badly written computer science textbooks, and had to figure out the actual computer science aspect on our own. Then 9-11 happened, and all the computer science jobs were outsourced to India, so I figured I better get a job.
I spent almost three years slugging at the Belantis Institute of Oceanography as an entry level cartographer. Apparently there was pent up demand because the government feared terrorists would attack Yarmouth, with a recent anthrax scare and all. So I had to update numerous old coastal maps. Tedious work of the copying nature, the only highlight I remember is visiting the bio-lab where I saw a three-headed fish, a collection of blue lobsters, and a jellyfish much larger than the size of my entire bachelor’s apartment.
I then had a brief entrepreneurial venture, where I tried to make a jewelry manufacturing home based business. I had this unique manufacturing concept where I would produce jewelry quickly, with little overhead costs, and completely autonomous. After two separate explosions and a mysterious looking silver and iron space rock later, I decided that jewelry wasn’t for me.
When I first passed a difficult life insurance licensing exam, I had images of finally getting my first "real job", strolling around suburbia and or meeting employers of small businesses, helping people get insurance coverage. This couldn’t end up further from the truth. I worked for this life insurance industry where my employer, in all his infinite wisdom, thought it to be a clever idea to offer free one-thousand dollar death benefits to anyone who signed up to our clientele database. Needless to say, this resulted in a pile of people to call up and visit who simply wanted the free benefit package. I spent up to twelve hours a day, on commission, going from mobile home to mobile home, where I felt incredibly aloof and morbid trying to sell life insurance to people who couldn’t even afford to put food on the table. I even came across one fellow, in his eighties, who collected up to ten of such free benefits from my company over the years. I guess he forgot to read the fine print that only one of those certificates will apply, but seeing that he is in his eighties, I doubt he can even see the fine print. Eventually I sold useless five dollar a month term policies, just so I could feed myself. Some weeks I made a grand total of five-thousand dollars, too bad it costs me four-thousand dollars in expenses, and I subsequently ended up with a net income less than a full time employee working at McDonald’s. My employer, of course, felt entitled to half my total commissions for simply being my employer, and he didn’t foot a single bill towards my expenses.
Just when I thought I experienced the maximum potential of human sin in the world of employment, the world continues to surprise me. My next job was as an Investor Relations Agent at a call centre, right in the heat of the U.S stock market crash. From the moment I joined this "company", it reminded me of a scene on "Fight Club." I remember the words of my trainer just before he graduated us to the "real world", "You shall never tell anyone or mention that, cough, Atlantic Murla Group, at Pier 21, is serving the interests of the Bank of New York. If you speak, we will fire you. You can’t tell your friends, you can’t tell your children, you can’t commence in any socialization of any kind with your fellow employees about work outside this building, and you definitely can’t tell your wives, husbands, boyfriends or girlfriends. Don’t think we won’t find out if you squeal, for we’re offering bonuses to anyone who reports the squealers." What a splendid introduction to the shop floor of the company!
I got to experience the typical pain of call centre duty, I was called so many unspeakable names that are even off limits to this cover letter, but had the additional pleasure of dealing with America’s incredibly rich and spoiled. Wives, who are eagerly calling in, to collect the inheritance no more than two days after the death of their husbands; Children doing the same, to collect the inheritance of their parents, so they can purchase a few condominiums. Some I had to tell their daddy lost it all gambling on the now crashed stock market, where I was then subsequently accused of being a demon, anti-Christ, "big bad government", etc.
This brief tenure as an Investor Relations Agent also taught me the splendor of International Business. You see, Atlantic Murla is an Indian company based in Bangalore. And as such, we Canadians were subjected to true Bangalorian traditions when it came to employment. If we arrived one minute late, we were docked ten minutes off our pay, and they actually took the time/money to account this information accordingly. Of course, it didn’t matter if we were one minute early, or if we had to stay in forty minutes after the clock to deal with that irritable customer who won’t hang up. By the way, did I mention it was against company policy to ever hang up? We also couldn’t spend more than, I counted, fifteen seconds between calls, without a manager calling to yell our eardrums sore. But all of this was next to nothing compared to the most embarrassing policy I have ever had to experience. We were required to "schedule" our "nature’s call" before we could leave the office area and vacate our phones. Yes, that’s right, I was required to notify and put into an electronic schedule when I had to take a shit. And seeing that I have irritable bowel syndrome, that was quite often, oh yeah, and they docked your pay for that as well.
My next "job", if you could call it a job, was being a retail demonstrator and auditor. The retail demonstrator simply involved me standing around all day for hours, showing off a Sony prototype camera and all it’s million and one features. Getting paid just to stand was nice. The auditing portion involved me going around to a few stores every couple weeks to inspect for quality control. All of this wasn’t a bad "in between job", until I discovered that life coach and personal psychologist were apparently part of the package. My boss would call me all hours of the night, telling me of troubles with his wife, his finances, his business, his children, his mistress, etc. Although I got low pay, I was well fed, as my boss would set up appointments with me to "discuss business" at his favorite Haligonian steak house at least once every week. It didn’t matter where he was currently located, surely enough, he would pay hundreds of dollars in airline fees just to make the dinner meetings.
Finally, I gave a diploma in construction management/development a try. Figuring; that if I can’t beat my real estate overlords who run my life, I shall join them. I entered what I thought to be beginner classes, all but to find out the kids were ringers, spitting out information like high-powered octane robots, and everyone knew somebody important in the business. Needless to say, with my competitive minded professors, it didn’t matter if I knew the material; I was the bottom of the heap.
Currently I’m writing a novel that has just hit its 500th page, and it isn’t yet finished. I want to work for Dantes Peak magazine because you’re the only paper in town that offer the opportunity to do what I love, that and you’re the only ones who gave me the opportunity to write a truthful cover letter that could possibly be appropriate. I wish all that I’ve written are fiction or even exaggerations, but that would be a lie. Contact me at any time for an interview. Feel free to turn the page if you wish to see a conventional resume.
-Donovan D. Westhaver
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