You’re tired, it’s past midnight, and you’ve exhausted yourself writing cover letters that start with ‘To Whom It May Concern.’ You find yourself actually wondering who your cover letter and resume will concern, and specifically who the hell is on the receiving end directing your future?
And more than once, you found yourself wishing for a Golden Ticket that would guaranteed entry into your dream job. Like, if Google told everyone that it was going to release 500,000 Chromebooks and 5 of them were gold, and whoever happened to purchase the golden Chromebooks was guaranteed an insider tour of the Googleplex, with the underlying promise of a mid-level, full-time job waiting at the end for one lucky participant. Your fantasy continues with you opening that box, and a glimmer of gold peeks out of the corner, and you can almost just feel your heart stop. What next? Do you stop there? No, you quickly come up with a strategy on how to secure that position when you go in for the Golden Chromebook Insider Tour, making sure that the Google people will know how awesome you’ll be once you’re one of them.
And trust me, at this point, you will not find yourself hoping to act like passive, soft-spoken little Charlie Bucket.
The other children all have what Charlie didn’t seem possess any of, which is grit. Oh sure, Charlie’s from a sweet poor family who teaches him politeness and love and all that, but is that really enough to run an entire chocolate factory rampant with little orange people from a strange land and competitors looming over every corner (I mean, really)?
Show your passion. Augustus really loves chocolate. A lot. When writing your cover letter or responding to the job application/email, be bold, loudly proclaim your love for the company and its mission. Draft out the cover letter with an honest and genuine voice, instead of the usual dry, technical tone of all those subpar generic cover letters. This isn’t the time to use a template, or to Google an example of ‘great cover letters,’ this is the time for you to let your true passion shine through. Let them know how much you love chocolate by going for that chocolate river! At the very least, you’ll catch their eye and that’s the first step.
Know what you want. Don’t act like a jerk, but take a tip from Veruca and know what you want and how to obtain it. If it’s the senior analyst job that you eventually want to obtain, openly present your plan of action in your cover, and what professional development steps you’re planning to take to get there. And don’t just say that, do it! Go out and take classes, talk to professionals, read books, etc. Know what your ‘trained nut cracking squirrel’ or ‘golden egg goose’ is and go Veruca Salt on it.
Be daring. Violet loves gum, but she’s also the only child who dared to try the new type of gum which serves as a three-course meal. The reason being she loves chewing gum. Let your sense of courage and adventure show through your job inquiry letter or cover letter. Don’t be timid or passive; put on an active voice and let them know that your career change or resignation from your last job was an act of bravery because life is just too damn short to not chew that piece of beta tested gum.
Be analytical. Mike didn’t get his golden ticket by chance, and he wasn’t afraid to question the odd processes in the Wonka factory once he was in. Show what you know in a way that frames itself as constructive (don’t be a jerk like Mikey here), but also don’t be afraid to sound collected and intelligent. You don’t always have to be eager and earnest in the face of job applications or even job interviews, if you have any ideas on how to make a process or a product better, say so (but be respective about it). If some things don’t make sense to you, speak up. Be smart and analytical, and don’t trust claims about Chocolate Television.
Which child’s method/personality applies most to you?
Let me know in the comments below.
(This is also posted on sproutresumes.com, a resume editing and re-design company that I’ve co-founded. For any resume services, please feel free to leave me a comment in the section below or email/tweet me).