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Approaching a scary job market with humor...

Updated on July 15, 2009

So, here is a little job hunting story for you.

I have been diligently looking for the ideal position that will allow me to be able to leave the victim advocacy field, feeling good, head held high marching toward a new job I will love and with the potential for more cash being deposited into my bank account. There have been some "close-fits" but no brass ring. I enjoy working with the families that have asked for my help over the past 4 years and have seen some amazingly tragic cases turn a more positive corner despite doubts that this could ever happen. The role I have played in these cases was very important and the praise I receive warms my heart but I can't be truly happy unless I am writing or at the very least, working in the presence of other creative individuals. I need this or soon, I may just curl up in a ball and cease to exist. Helping others has been my job for the past 12 years and now I am working to help myself.

I noticed an interesting job opening, quite by accident. I placed my teacup on the paper from the day before, the tea was hot as hell, and in my haste, I spilled a little and when I went to wipe away the liquid, I noticed an ad for a "private secretary”. Normally, I don't bother with administrative type jobs because they don't pay well, are boring and my degree is in Sociology, Criminal Justice and English (I was in college a long time!) but this one caught my eye. It stated that someone was needed to help with writing, editing, photography, and other creative things but at the end it said to write a letter stating, "Why I should hire you." Honesty always wins me over and the pay was almost twice what I am making now. The only odd thing? The poster wanted a picture sent along with the resume and letter.

If you have not edited your resume in over a year or two, go back, re-read it and then do a quick search to see what the latest formats are and what words or phrases employers either like or hate.

Now, in this day and age I would think that asking for a picture could be viewed as potentially discriminatory or...creepy at best but I decided to go ahead anyway because what do I really have to lose? I typed up a professional yet quirky letter stating that I had no doubt this employer would not see another applicant like me and that my quick wit and keen knack for picking up the nuances of current technological advances would work to their advantage. I did this on expensive, high-gloss HP photo paper and as a decorative border at the top I inserted a 4-ply montage of sepia photos of myself (sized moderately small so as not to give the appearance of an inflated ego!) with a vintage shot of filmstrip placed as a spacer in between each one. It looked quite lovely and I used only face shots that looked both friendly and helpful, nothing overly I have any of those! I have never seen myself that way (sexy) and probably never will so I think I made good picture choices.

If a potential "boss" is requesting a picture of you before any interview is some research on the company, firm, individual and so on. This is not the norm as far as I am concerned and if it sets off alarms then DO YOUR RESEARCH because not only does this person have your picture - they now have your address also! (I did research the company I was applying to)

After doing that I made a very professional looking label for my potential boss, it was very handsome if I do say so, and then carefully bundled up my package and applied said label securely before sending it off into the labyrinth that is the US Postal Service. Since a picture was requested, I pondered including a hair, blood, or even stool sample but then would be compelled to say yes when asked if I was shipping anything liquid or potentially hazardous. I wonder how many people lie about this? Anyway, the stool sample wouldn't technically be "liquid" as it is a "solid" but I digress...I am joking about this, you do realize that? "You've got poo-mail!"

• Use proper resume paper and DO NOT write the address on the envelope! MS Word makes it easy to type up a label that can be printed out. Appearances matter during an interview but they also matter when your potential boss is thinking about opening your resume but can't get past the sloppy way the envelope is addressed.

And so, we will see what happens. I won't name the business but it involves filming and photographing adventure tours. If it turns out to be porn I will have a good laugh and say, "Good day to you sir! I said, good day!" He will protest because I am so damn adorable but will ultimately know that it was not meant to be. "Please dear baby Jesus, don't let this be porn!" I really need a new job!


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