How Do I Set Myself Apart -- in a Good Way?Complications Ensue
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Q. I am a screen writing major currently writing cover letters to apply for internship positions on a few television shows. One of which is a very popular cable series, and I find myself cramming in the most cliche comments. How can I market myself with out boasting, how I can show I'm a fan with out totally kissing up to the produce?
I am not sure the produce minds being kissed up to. Vegetables so rarely get any respect.

(And there's a gay joke in there too but I'll leave it as an exercise.)

There are some departments I can't entirely help you on. For example, how to write a respectful, enthusiastic, stylish letter. If you know how to express yourself, express yourself. Commit some of your personality to the letter. Make sure there's a person in there. Put some thought into it. Saying "enthusiastic" is not nearly as impressive as showing your enthusiasm by crafting the perfect letter for each position and each production company.

Do your research. Google the recipient. Cater to their extra-curricular interests.

Shotgunning resumes is almost never effective. To break through the crowd of letters and emails, you need to find a way to set yourself apart without seeming goofy or sophomoric.

Remember, you are writing to a human being who is trying to find another human being to spend a great deal of time with. It ought to go without saying that coming across as sloppy (manual spell-checking is crucial) or annoying won't get you the job. But you can also fail by being too formal -- by treating your addressee as a potential employer, not as a human being, or by coming across like a job candidate rather than a human being.

Good luck!



There's kissing up to produce, and then there's...well...

By Blogger Tim W., at 3:13 PM  

Thanks for this post, Alex. I'm doing exactly the same thing right now, and have been coming across the same problems.

Thanks again.

By Blogger Jason Sanders, at 3:34 PM  

The best advice I can give you is be interesting but don't cross the line into weirdness, in your correspondence or your CV. I didn't give a guy an interview because he listed "potatoes" under hobbies on his CV. I'm sure he thought he was being witty, but I didn't share that opinion. Or if your hobby is reinacting renaissance jousting matches, maybe keep that one to yourself, too. Not that there's anything wrong with that but ...

By Blogger CAROLINE, at 10:34 PM  

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