“Melissa and I are in a hotel room in New York City to meet with a guy who has a lot of money and wants to do a makeup line. And of course Melissa and I said we could definitely launch a makeup line. I mean, we shop at Sephora, so we can launch something like that.
Of course it will not be something like that at all because we are differentiating our makeup line. We are not sure how, though, which is why we came to New York a day early so we could order room service and walk around in pajamas and read blogs about the resurgence of brick-and-mortar stores, which we will be leading. Of course.
But first we have to do other things. Like Melissa has to show me this company that called Melissa about recruiting. It’s Everlane. The catalogue is so cool. They tell you the price of every single thing on the page. Like, the price of the fabric. But I can’t keep buying new clothes, so I tell Melissa to get Everlane to sponsor my blog so we can get free clothes. And Melissa takes a picture of me pitching myself to the company. And they are going to be blown away by how good their catalogue looks on my blog.
Then Melissa has to go read resumes because she is now a million-dollar-an-hour recruiter for hipster companies. In fact, Melissa should just sponsor this blog and buy me all the Everlane clothes.
She is reading resumes. She says, “This person wrote in their cover letter that the job will be good for them because SOMA is an easy commute.”
I take a look. It is true. Someone has actually said that they are qualified for the job because it’s a good commute for them.
Melissa tells me that people write stuff about their commute in their cover letter all the time. She is shocked that this particular person is so old because “people should know better by that age,” she says.
Rule #1 Don’t focus on your needs focus on the company’s needs.
I start writing my blog post about my course for parenting based on personality type. I get stuck feeling sorry for myself that no one knew my personality type when I was ten. I should not have been in tap dance classes. I’m too achievement-oriented to be relegated to a kick line. I think of all the overachiever resumes that Melissa gets.
Seriously. She is hiring for executive assistants at startups and she gets resumes from Harvard, professional athletes, United Nations envoys. It’s all super surprising to me.
But Melissa brings things back to reality by reading a snippet from a cover letter: “I have a 3.9 grade point average from [redacted] college, and please note that it is an accredited school.”
I feel bad for the person and I think maybe I should get his email address and offer to rewrite his cover letter. Then I see the cover letter is written in all caps. Yes. ALL CAPS. And I realize he is hopeless.
Rule #2 Don’t highlight your stupid school.
Rule #3 Definitely don’t do it in all caps.
Melissa is hiring assistants for people you would just die of excitement to meet. Even I would die to meet them and I hate meeting people so much that I come to NYC and don’t leave my hotel room. I am trying to think of a way to tell you how great Melissa is at her job. I think this tells you:
She found a guy who has a gender-neutral name and came to the interview dressed as a woman. And during the interview everyone avoided pronouns and the interview went well and Melissa picked the person as her top pick for the job. And guess what? The hiring manager loved him. Or her. And gave her/him an offer. And I feel like that’s how good Melissa is, that she can get some boys club startup guy to offer a job to a cross-dressing transgender guy or whatever the lingo is.
Rule #4 Leave cross-dressing off the cover letter. Just assume people are fine with it.
I have to call home to have my husband check to see if my son has been watching porn and my husband says we need to put some sort of security on the computer. And I start hunting for something I can tell my husband to download and I find android security and adultery security and I think Melissa is going to scream at me for being generationally challenged when it comes to search, but we hear chanting and we look out the window, which we can only open two inches because we are in Times Square and they don’t want jumpers, and we see there is a protest about the Eric Garner decision.
I get my camera to take a picture. “Quick!” I tell Melissa. “We are so cool for being here. We are on the cutting edge! It must be documented on the blog that I was in the middle of something exciting.”
Melissa says she has to take a picture because she is the official photographer of the blog. So she got to take the picture.
I am the assistant photographer. I am relegated to taking pictures of my knee.
I didn’t mean for this picture to go on the blog. I sent the picture to Melissa to show her that my knees are getting wrinkly and I think I need a face lift on my knee, or whatever it’s called for a knee.
Melissa says, “I hate when people write in their cover letter that I will be foolish not to hire them. Who do they think they are?”
Rule #5 Don’t threaten the reader. (Note: Melissa says only men do this.)
I say, “Do you have any cover letters where someone did well?”
And she says, “I have a part of the application where people have to write 150 characters about themselves. And this person wrote:
If you could only have 5 words on your tombstone, describing yourself, what would it say?
Mine: She wanted to learn, everything.
The punctuation is so gorgeous that I read the sentences twice, and I imagine myself using a comma with such intention.
And then I realize that I am too wound up in appearances. To be clear, I am not crazy. Appearances matter way more for women at work than men. But somehow I just wrote a whole blog post about make up and clothes and porn and plastic surgery and looking cool. And you know what the best part of this post is? That applicant who wrote a great sentence.”