Thursday, April 25, 2013

Write the Best Cover Letter Ever! and Other Basics of a Fundamental, Thorough, Quick and Effective Search For Gainful Employment, Pt.1.

"If I am not happy at work, then I am apparently unable to dedicate complete focus to anything else." - Worker Drones of the World.

Firstly, lol at 'gainful employment' in the title. Turns out, among other things, it is a psychological term -a positive psychology concept, ahem- that delves into the potential perks a job and the work associated with it might offer to an individual. Secondly, one of the few references I found states that a good number of Europeans (Americans too ;) believe job satisfaction is paramount to any other perceived need. Assuming that an individual believes this to actually be true -critically necessary even- an incomplete #1 would completely disallow anything further down the list to be as it should, by forcing distance and then irrelevancy. Forced away from the light because it can not truly or actually exist without #1 being true- in this case, job satisfaction. Ouch.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

No wonder there are so many divorces, bankruptcies, and otherwise frustrated souls holding the false belief they are free. Without it -job satisfaction- the effects from the consistent and persistent negatives associated with any/all aspects of said job are obviously very powerful and destructive, eventually likely to show themselves as the worst kind of trickle down effect imaginable: Confused, misguided, and unhealthy manifestations of frustration, affecting all parties involved. According to the reference above, it seems the majority agrees: 'If I am not happy at work, then I am apparently unable to dedicate complete focus to anything else.'

Logical I suppose, but it all comes back to the simple notion of time spent. Literally, how do you spend your time and why? With whom do you spend it and why? What are the tangible things that actually lead to a firm, conscious decision that so obviously states to those who choose to listen: 'you, or this finite stretch of life together, is worth my time -my existence'?

With a slight nod to the bigger picture here, believe this: whether you are working or cuddling, you are still you. Those few hours may have been business or pleasure, but your involvement still involved you! As you. Your life, starring you! Smile big for all the world to see!

Or not so big. Mainly just unhappy with my haircut.
Regardless of what you are doing, do it well. Be cautious, but never afraid of putting yourself out there a little more than yesterday. Do it all well, regardless, because...

...exquisitely well-timed rewards have been known to piggyback on calculated risks from time to time. 

The 'do it all well, regardless' mindset applies to most aspects of daily life because most people do provide some type of daily labor or expertise that is then traded for some paper, which is again traded for another's time, and on and on and on...That is fine for now, as that is the system we are currently dealing with (read: trying to slaughter), but your work should fuel and feed your soul rather than drag the life out of you. If it's so obviously unhealthy to stay, then it is as obvious it is time to go.

This entire post ties into both having and finding a job. It is not as tough as it may seem to find something you don't hate. Lol. Semantics, yes, but not hating is better than disliking- slightly. If you apply yourself through each step of the job search process, you will be successful- and probably sooner than later.

Please read on if:

* It is time to move on from your current job.
* You want to test the market for comparison.

*Vocation and vacation don't resonate on similar frequencies.

* You are finally ready to learn how to spend your time as you wish, even if working for someone else.
* Your work drains and frustrates rather than invigorates.
* You know what time it really is. Yes, you.

If I can do it, then anyone can do it. Lol, really, y'all. Although I played a bit of catch up to my peers, amazing professional opportunities continue to be presented to me. After a long, cold, lonely winter -Be gone ye!- where I was ok enough, it became time to shit or get off the pot. I made my decision and it was the right one.

After identifying an attainable, desirable, and intriguing job posting on Craigslist, I decided to give it a real shot. None of this form letter, email blast responding shite, but the Real Deal as I know it. After a number of hours spent polishing and editing, updating, re-editing, and tailoring my resume for this specific listing, it finally came time to write the dreaded cover letter.

Oh cover letter, how I loathe your existence. I have written some bad ones over the years, now quite embarrassing to read, but I learned -at least one reason- why I received so few call backs! Too full of myself, repeating too much that is already on the resume, not following the directions in the job listing, not taking advantage of the opportunity to truly show my personality (too safe), the improper salutation, etc.

1. Be honest.
2. Don't oversell yourself...but almost oversell yourself.
3. Outline significant events from your professional career, such as promotions, performance spikes, revenue gains you or your dept. were responsible for, etc.
4. Be polite and confident, not assuming and brash.
5. Edit, set aside, reread, reedit, set aside, rinse and repeat.
6. No grammatical or formatting errors allowed! Don't do it!
7. Realize that not only is each skill very transferable, but each has its own set of "sub-skills" that hold the whole together, without which the whole could not exist. List those too!
8. Be creative, be fun, and be you.
9. Allow as much of your personality, polished bravado, humor, and refined communications skills to show. It is possible to get an actual whiff of someone from a b&w piece of paper, but only you control what becomes significant...
10. You control it!

Random, yet poignant note on a Grand Rapids sidewalk.
Pretty exciting stuff! Especially if considered as proof of second/third/fourth chances combined with faith and leg work. As I say...if can land a killer job, so can you. 

With all that said, I will never stop linking the necessity of the pieces to the necessity of the whole. If your job is hurting your life, find something else. 

You can.
You can thrive.
You can thrive instead of survive.

Always remember that you are as powerful as anyting that could ever be placed in your path.

Thanks for reading.



The text below is the actual letter of inquiry I sent to Fountain Street Church after attempting to 'row up my ducks.' Definitely not perfect, and for sure not the "Best Cover Letter Ever" as promised. Lol. I would think there are some syntax and other errors I missed after reading it a million times. I felt ok enough about it and hit send! Seems like I was right to feel pretty ok, as I was offered and accepted the position after some relatively intense interviews! Good times, indeed.

Feel free to correct any mistakes and put me in my place. Hope some of this helps! More to come shortly.


Fountain Street Church stained glass window in Grand Rapids.
Fountain Street Church stained glass window.


Hello Fountain Street Friends!

My name is Ryan McCarthy and I wish to toss my name into the hiring hat. Your posting for an Events Coordinator is very exciting as I would love to be involved with such a venerable local institution as Fountain Street Church.

The respect and appreciation I have for FSC's community involvement, acceptance of individual uniqueness, progressive nature, and physical aesthetics, all hint to a (potential) comfortable fit. My wonderfully relevant professional experience, high level of drive, natural confidence, and ability to understand direction while adapting, all nurture the attraction of this official 'bid' for the Events Coordinator position. 

While working at Wealthy Theatre as Events Coordinator, I gained much of the experience, poise, and professionalism that FSC is requesting of the eventual new hire. My detail work is superb, I am calm under fire, and can fill in other roles as needed. Due to a constant intake of knowledge because of Wealthy Theatre's extremely varied programming, my proficiency as a facilitator has been finely tuned. Each event really was different - burlesque shows, photo shoots, live theater, live music, dance, and even a half dozen weddings -each with its own needs and nuances. Fortunately, the details of each event allowed (forced!) me to glean the applicable knowledge for use in future situations. I did my job well, loved it, and was recognized for those facts. Having started as a volunteer and then a contractor, I was offered the staff position of Operations Lead. When the time was right, a promotion from OL to the managerial position of Events Coordinator was offered and accepted.

After routinely spending ten- and twelve-hour days with clients, I used those interactions to help myself further understand about dedication and the importance of minding event planning's microdetail work. Dealing with potential 'issues' by remaining calm throughout -whether during the event's planning phase or execution- allowed me to develop a voice of reason and maintain a perception of 'cool' in all situations. After addressing all pre-show needs and assisting with FOH/ Main House throughout the performance, it became normal to stay and do the post-show lock up, after the last person left the theater. Good times, indeed. 

I learn quickly, think fast on my feet and adapt to the situation at hand. I am familiar with Microsoft Office programs and am quite efficient on a Mac as well. Computers and I tend to get along just fine, but some homework would need to be done on the advanced workings of the Adobe software. Depending on what is needed specifically, I do have a grasp of software and application functionality, so the 'end need'/final product can be sufficient and official.

Having more control over my time, the ability to surround myself with like-minded souls, and pursue my passions throughout it all, are each a direct result of the hard work I have put in over the last few years. Each day -each moment- I strive to live a full and healthy life that represents love and honesty. This natural confidence carries over to my 'professional' part of life as well, allowing a space to exist where we can all excel. This excellence becomes noticeable, acknowledged, talked about, and is ultimately contagious.  

My schedule is flexible and I would welcome the opportunity to interview for Events Coordinator. I have attached my resume and three recommendation letters as (safe) PDFs. These further outline my experience, skills, connections, and history in more detail, while hopefully casting supplemental positive light on my strong points. Many other excellent personal and/or professional references are available at anytime. I am very fortunate to have some pretty cool people in my corner -I must be doing something right. 

Thank you for your consideration. Please feel free to call or email anytime.


Ryan McCarthy

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