“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. “
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
The only job interviews I had ever went to were ones that had a pretty low bar of entry. Don’t look like a slob, pass the drug test, and avoid saying anything stupid. A child could have aced them. I’d never had to write a cove letter or explain why I was qualified for the position.
When I started freelancing on oDesk I actually had to sell myself as the best candidate for the job. I won’t lie, I was intimidated. It actually took me an hour or two to create my cover letter, edit it, and then copy and paste it into various job applications.
Nobody contacted me back.
I was disheartened, but I decided to give it another go. I looked up quality cover letters and decided to copy them. I rewrote my material and fired off five more job applications. One responded.
Since then I continued to make tweaks and experiment. I’d see a job titled “Health Writer Wanted” and I’d mention my interests in fitness and weightlifting. If I had some connection to a subject I’d make sure to mention it. While my hiring rate didn’t jump drastically it did improve.
What I learned
I actually learned two things from my cover letter.
The first was that I sucked at sales. My initial pitches were awful. Had I continued on that route I would have landed close to zero jobs and probably would have given up.
The second thing that I learned was that my whole situation could be easily fixed. By making a few changes and playing around I was able to find something that worked for me. It took a little time and some effort, but the payoff was significantly better than what I had been getting.
By being willing to set aside my ego and admit that I probably wasn’t doing a good job, I was able to alter my approach and improve.