An Open Cover Letter
Things I’ve learned since leaving my job and taking the summer to explore.
Dear [fill in employer name here],
Conventional wisdom would say that a cover letter should start by focusing on the positives. No offense to conventional wisdom, but I think I have a better way to tell you my story. It begins when I allowed myself to say the word, “no.”
I left behind the role of Director of Production at an ad agency because I was looking to pivot my career trajectory. I wanted to excel less at operational excellence and more at, well, let’s call it, inspirational excellence. I took the summer to learn how to get there.
Choosing to leave behind a role was the first big “no” I had allowed myself. My first big negative. But negatives should always be followed by affirmatives. It keeps the world balanced. So for that one “no,” here are six affirmations that I have learned this summer.**
1. If you can make people think while they are laughing, you can rule the world.
- I realized I simply cannot tell a story or lead a project without making those around me laugh. And that’s a strength I didn’t recognize. Other people call it “engagement.” I’m in the process of patenting the term “laugh leadership.”
- I think it may be serious business.
2. You must state your decision loudly and often.
- Reinforcement of going after what you want is a game of stamina.
- I train by shouting what I want into a mirror, regularly. So far, it seems to agree with me.
3. Writing should be a regular exercise. Also — exercise should be a regular exercise.
- Did you know you can record voice memo’s on your smartphone? I find my best ideas come when I’m outside, in nature. With a smartphone.
- Did you know there is a woman who says, “Good-morning!” to every person she sees on my hiking trail every day? Her smile is so big, you can’t help but smile back, and wish her the same.
- I want to know about the first time she decided she’d wish, “good-morning” to strangers. I’m going to ask her this question by Sept 30th.
4. You can be what you want to be (an edited list of things I’ve done this summer).
- Contributor for Buzzfeed: My fourth post on the Golden Girls got promoted to the Community Front Page (and landed several Etsy artists some sales).
- Production consultant for artisenal tea delivery service on Kickstarter that has received funding.
- Editor of collaborative blog with 5 other professional women
- Contributor for Medium Blog. Posts include, Choose your own adventure: Why you NEED to tell yourself, your own life story
- Enthusiastic job-referrer + cheerleader to friends and colleagues.
5. My friends and colleagues are incredible people.
- I can’t thank them enough for continually suggesting me for jobs. Even more so for being understanding and supportive when I said I just wanted to “take a beat” before jumping back into something.
6. The internet contains some amazing, rarely traversed corners.
- I commit myself to seeking them out each day. It’s overwhelming. Enlightening. Enraging. Inspiring.
In short, I have the experience and resourcefulness to meet challenges and drive projects forward. But I’m learning I needed to go beyond that to feel satisfied. I needed a refresher. I thought I needed grad school. I think I just needed summer school.
All of this is the long way of saying, I’d love the chance to meet you in-person. Although there may seem like there is a gap between fulltime employment and now, it’s actually some of the best experience I could have gotten for you as an employee. I’m not sure if you’re still looking for a [fill in the blank job title] but regardless, I would love the chance to just say hello.
Hope we can connect!
All the best,
**Side bar: I’ve run enough production budgets to know that 1 < 6, unless you are weighing negatives against positives. Then the math gets fuzzy.