The Lost Cover Letter
Up until about eight years ago, I had never written a cover letter to submit with a resume. The first real job I got out of college was the result of applying through the college’s job placement office and the second job was through a referral. I had a resume for these jobs, but a cover letter had not been required.
Job number two lasted for thirteen years before my boss decided to downsize his home building business to a less busy home improvement company. He had anticipated the housing bubble bursting long before it actually did and didn’t want to get caught with lots he couldn’t sell.
Anyway, he wanted to cut my hours down to part time and I decided it was best to just part ways altogether. I needed to take some Microsoft classes and get myself marketable for other jobs and it was just easier to start fresh.
I did well at the community college where I took an Excel class. The credit courses were independent study so there was no class time, no interaction with other students and no fixed time that I needed to be at school. It was an adjustment for me to teach myself and the lack of camaraderie made school a lonely place for me.
After I had completed my class, I signed on with a couple of temp agencies in the hopes of finding a job through one of my assignments. Although I enjoyed the offices where I worked, I had no luck finding any place that had a job opening for me. I started searching the want ads and occasionally found jobs that sounded good, but although my resume was in good shape, I didn’t have a cover letter.
I started researching cover letters on the internet and found many examples I could use to get started. It took me days to put something together and I agonized over every sentence. Because it was such a difficult process for me, I moved around the house. I’d work a little at my desktop, and then move to the bedroom with my laptop. I was using a floppy disk to store my Word file on as I moved back and forth between the machines.
I’m not sure what happened, but at some point the floppy file became corrupt…meaning all my work was lost. My poor husband came home and had to deal with my loud wailing and anguish. He did everything he could to try to find or salvage the document, but it was gone, gone, gone.
I was just about undone by this loss. I was convinced the document’s perfection was impossible to duplicate and wallowed in deepest despair. Time was passing by and no job offers we being magically bestowed upon me so I had to start over.
The interesting thing was that by having to rewrite my “masterpiece”, I found that the newer iteration was cleaner and more concise than its wordy predecessor. My message was not lost in a sea of adjectives and cumbersome sentences. Losing the first document had turned into a sort of blessing and I came to be glad that it had been destroyed.
Job hunting has become easier for me over the years and I no longer fear writing in order to showcase my abilities. It’s all a matter of practice, perseverance and positive thinking. It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but then I guess all really good lessons are.