This Works?!?

20 Aug

In my search for totally awesome jobs, I stumbled upon an editorial internship opportunity at The Onion.  I decided to apply for it on a lark–because who wouldn’t want to work for the nation’s largest fake news producer?  After staring for way too long at a blank page trying to come up with a professional sounding cover letter, I wrote this:

Obscene, Totally Made Up Letterhead

Borrowed Local Address

Cell Number that doesn’t match the address ·

Dude I’m Sucking Up to

Company I want to Work At

Address in Desirable Location

Where Else but a Wonderful City

August 19, 2010

Dear Editorial Assistant who Controls My Career Fate,

I have no connection to your company, but am going to insert the name of a friend of a family friend in the hopes that you think I am connected, powerful and an inside hire.  As a recent liberal arts graduate of a prestigious college you’ve probably never heard of, I was extremely ecstatic to hear that your company was hiring for an editorial intern position.

My time interning at several television production companies allowed me to exercise some really important skills, which are related to your job even though I used them in a different industry entirely.  Instead of telling you just how amazing, organized, driven and desperate I am, I will show you these traits through cleverly worded and well thought out examples.  I will trust you to make the connection between my skills and your job opening.  Because even though just about anyone can make copies and coffee and join the right papers for stapling purposes, you should hire someone with a ridiculously expensive college education who can smile while doing it.  Someone like me.

At this point I have spent over an hour agonizing over this letter. Do you even read this paragraph?  This is the one with more concrete examples from all the relevant, professional experiences that I’ve had.  I am bringing my resume to life here, and you are barely paying attention.  To retrieve your gaze from an attractive colleague or a nail-biting game of minesweeper, I might even mention that I make a jaw-dropping, tongue lolling chocolate chip cookie and that I’ll bring two dozen to the interview.  Because I know that bribing your stomach is the quickest way for me to prove just how hirable I am.  And who doesn’t want cookies, especially when they’re wading through acres of carefully crafted cover letters and well-rounded resumes?

Here I will make reference to a future talk we’ll have about this job, which is my way of sounding confident that you’ll actually want to contact me.


Leslie Stonebraker

Unemployed Liberal Artist

Because it was The Onion, and because I couldn’t stare at that blank page any longer, I sent this version off.  I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, I mean, look at that thing!  So imagine my shock when I get a same day reply commending my resume and asking me in for an interview.  Um?  That worked?  Really?  I feel a bit like the guy who wrote “F**k you” on his college application and then got into Harvard.  Okay, so not quite like that, but you get the idea.  Woah.


9 Responses to “This Works?!?”

  1. MA August 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

    Wonderful. Maybe he is interested in the two dozen jaw-dropping chocolate chip cookies. Good luck!

    • Casey August 20, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

      Congrats Leslie! Hope the interview goes awesome.

  2. just_uraverage August 20, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Congrats! That was a great cover letter 😉

  3. Ryan K. August 21, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    The letter is really impressive, Leslie. The element of truth is what makes this so funny. Congrats!

  4. Jason Mittell August 21, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    It’s posts like this that help remind me why I do what I do… Good luck!

  5. Avery August 21, 2010 at 1:11 am #

    This is my third time telling Leslie this, but I have to put it out there again: THIS IS SO AMAZING.


  1. Tweets that mention This Works?!? « -- - August 21, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jason Mittell, Teresa Gorman, Lynn Marie Franco, Sarah Franco, Brian Fung and others. Brian Fung said: See? A useless lib-arts degree is useful after all! RT @rkellett: How to get an interview for a position at The Onion: […]

  2. And the Winner Is … « - August 24, 2010

    […] heels or those super hip flat sandals with the strap around the ankle. It’s an hour before my interview at The Onion and I don’t think I’m in Kansas […]

  3. Quick Qualifiers and Following Directions « - August 26, 2010

    […] applicants, shouldn’t be firing off tons of resumes and covers without any thought. And yet the humor is that even if we meticulously apply, most of the time our applications aren’t even read. […]

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