The Art of the Cover Letter

I graduated college way back in 1990, in the midst of an economic recession. Jobs were scarce, especially for new graduates who had no real work experience. I spent quite a bit of time looking for work, to no avail.

In those days, the job hunt involved getting a copy of the Sunday Washington Post, with its thick classifieds section, combing through the listings, circling the interesting jobs and then making calls and mailing paper resumes with cover letters.

Most of the employers who asked for resumes never responded, because composing and mailing physical letters was too much work and expense. After months of sending out applications and getting no response, I started to get annoyed.

I eventually gave up the job search and became a bike messenger. But not before writing this cover letter, which must have been one of my last.

Thanks to Alice Fiori for digging this out of her archives.

And, by the way, they never replied.

Andrew Diamond
[address redacted]
Washington, DC 20015

Personnel Director
Trinity College
125 Michigan Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20017-1094

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in response to your ad in The Washington Post (Sunday, July 8) for the part-time position of Transcript Evaluator. I am a recent college graduate with a degree in English.

Aside from my excellent written and oral communication skills, I am proficient in the use of WordPerfect. Conscientious work habits and the desire to provide excellent service are driven by the need to continually feed my enormous ego, which is itself exceeded only by my stunning good looks and irresistible charm.

Since experience seems to suggest that no one actually reads cover letters, I have assured myself that I may continue pontificating in the above manner for as long as I please. Not only am I the best candidate for this or any other job, simply by virtue of being me, but I must confess that I am somewhat taken aback by your not contacting me directly as soon as the position became vacant. Nevertheless, my unbounded mercy forces me to forgive your glaring oversight, however embarrassing it may have been.

Let me conclude by stating that placing an ad in The Washington Post is tantamount to inviting all manner of weirdos to apply for your position. And let me conclude once more by warning you that if you offer me this job, I will take it.

Yours with utmost verbosity,
Andrew Diamond

p.s. I am really quite reserved.