In all my job applications, only one company has requested a writing sample. They did not want to read through template based, tradition cover letters. Instead, a written explanation of personal and professional values was requested. I think they hoped that the applicant would take time to research the company and try to make a connection between the two entities values.
I wrote one such letter to this company back in February, and never heard back from them. To be fair, it was cheesy and the metaphorical comparison I attempted didn’t deliver. This week, the competitive spirit in me wanted to try again. Applications in todays’ job search are based on automated resume review systems and thrive off of key words. A computer program scans a resume before any human eyes see it. For a writing sample like this, I took a gamble that it would be human read, not computer reviewed. So, instead of a metaphorical type letter with strengths and passions woven throughout, I amped it up. I went for soul, scenery and a story. Sometimes that happens when I write… I get in a certain mood and the words just flow. The resulting letter was over the top, exaggerated and made me laugh out loud when I read it.
But here’s the crazy thing; it worked. Interview scheduled within 24 hours of submitting the application.
And, while I am being all transparent and sharing. My second letter may or may not have included this gem of a phrase, “…Olympic sweat and tears.”
Apparently, the story and scenery worked. When you’re writing, go with your gut! Use the stories and scenery when the muse leads that way. And, always, always try again!