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To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in reference to the position of [insert typically vague and meaningless job title here] which I learned about from your website.  My experience in [whatever remotely qualifies me for this job] is entirely applicable to this position.  It includes [my most impressive skills]…

Ugh, I am getting tired of seeing those words today, so I’ve decided to put the next cover letter on hold for a few minutes.  Through my elegant and professional b-s, I think I have successfully conveyed that I am perfectly qualified for every single job that strikes my fancy based on my previous career experience and education.  Now, if only a potential employer would agree.

I love reading a completed cover letter.  It’s only complete when I can sit back and say to myself, “Damn, I’m awesome.  I would hire me.”  Unfortunately, I’ve learned recently that I’ve been making myself appear TOO awesome.  Did you know that job candidates are just as unlikely to get an interview for a job they’re overqualified for as one they’re underqualified for?  It’s especially true now, in this climate of high unemployment, because companies don’t want to pay an educated, experienced person a good salary when there are thirty other candidates with less education and experience willing to work for less.  Of course, these companies may not realize that my salary expectations are well below average… I did live in NEPA for a decade, after all.  My last salary was downright insulting.

There are so many well-meaning friends and family advising me to apply for this or that entry-level job, admin assistant job, retail, or waitressing job, as though it were the obvious thing to do.  In my opinion, if that’s all there is for me, why did I go through this starting-over thing in the first place?  Certainly not to step backwards in my career.  I don’t want to be too picky, but I’m starting over in every other aspect of life.  I would really like to pick up my career where it left off, rather than returning to the early-twenties lifestyle of tiny, decrepit apartments, malfunctioning appliances, landlords, loud neighbors, and ramen noodles.  I didn’t even like it then, so I’m reasonably sure it won’t be any more glamorous now.

Okay, back to the drawing board.  My qualifications are perfectly aligned for this position.  Please contact me at your earliest convenience so we may discuss our compatibility.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Blah, blah, blah.  I’m awesome.  Just hire me!  Please?


  1. Lappy still eats Ramen noodles and he is passing this food preference down to the next generation.


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Part 1: College Submission

Alice stepped onto the dock in the backyard where her daughter sat, feet dangling into the creek.
“Maddie, help me with dinner, please.”
“But I need supplies for my presentation board.”
Alice inhaled tightly. “It’s almost curfew, Madison. Why didn’t you remind me earlier?”
“It’s just stuff from Target. I can go myself.”
“No. Write down what you need. I’ll go right now.”
“Seriously, mom, it’s okay. I’m 18. I can sign.”
Alice was firm. “Inside now, please, and make a shopping list.”
Madison rolled her eyes, but obeyed. Arguing was futile.
Alice grabbed Madison’s list in one hand, purse in the other. No use getting frustrated. College applications were treacherous; the private schools made it nearly impossible. If Madison’s project didn’t astonish the enrollment board at Elmwood, her acceptance could be revoked and she’d end up at State.
State was a good school, but it didn’t have the budget for security. Outside the ivies (which no longer accepted applications from non-legacy candidates), Elmwood…

Part 2: Campus Tour

Alice looked impatiently at her watch. Five more minutes until her daughter Madison and the other four candidates would present their high school theses to the Elmwood University enrollment board. 
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“Oh, that’s a closed event, ma’am. We’ll finish up the tour in time for you all to retrieve your students.” The tour guide didn’t even pause before continuing. “Next we are going to walk through the residential quad. Naturally, we will not be going inside any of the residence or dining halls for security reasons.”
“Are the dorms co-ed?” asked a parent.
“No, they’re all gender-segregated. Each entrance is equipped with a fingerprint reader and laser counter to ensure only authorized residents have access.”
Well, that’s overkill, thought Alice. What fun is college if you can’t sneak boys into…

Part 3: Life After Curfew

“Do I need to bring TP?” Madison whispered into her phone to her best friend, Grace.
“Nope! We’re stealing it from the school bathrooms,” replied Grace. “Hurry up and get down here!”
Madison slid open her bedroom window and climbed down the leafy trellis to the bushes below.
“Welcome to life after curfew!” Grace said in a loud whisper.
“Shh!” Madison reacted, scanning the darkness. “Don’t get us in trouble before we’ve even left the yard!”
“Relax, Maddie, there is NOBODY out here. Not even Curfew Officers. It’s been hours since twilight. Come on!”
Grace led Madison through a labyrinth of yards, avoiding streetlights. It took a few minutes for Madison’s eyes to adjust and notice that Grace was toting not one, but two rifles.
“Is the extra one for me?” Madison asked sarcastically.
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