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“Dear Hiring Manager:
I know you must have,
Many resumes to peruse.
To help you decide,
The best intern to choose.
I know you are busy,
So I will save you some time.
I can say without doubt
The best resume is mine….”

And thus began the first cover letter I ever wrote.

I was a sophomore in college and was applying for a summer internship with a small marketing firm in Knoxville, TN.  The ad said they wanted someone creative.  Well, what could be more creative than elementary school-caliber iambic pentameter?

Clearly, this letter was just oozing creative genius. I proudly faxed [faks-d; verb – to translate a facsimile of a printed document electronically] to the provided phone number and confidently awaited their anxious reply.  Shockingly, nothing happened.  No return call. No interview invitation. No “we’re hoping you can help us with this new Nike campaign.”  Nothing.

Discouraged by their inexplicable lack of response, I sought the counsel and sage-like advice of the greatest advocate I have ever known: naturally, I called my mom.  She, in turn, wisely suggested that I call the company and ask to speak to the hiring manager.  I quickly learned that, yes, they had received my cover letter and resume.  And yes, the position had been filled.  And no, I was not being considered. And finally, had I considered going down to the career center at my school and learning how to write a real cover letter?

I was humbled, but I did eventually heed their advice and made my way to the career center (I didn’t even know that the University of Tennessee had a career center).  This was before the vastness of the internet, when career-related resources and information were relegated to print copies and book stores.

Obviously today, things are much different as the internet has changed everything.  The UCS website is full of samples of letters and resumes to help you get a better understanding of what employers expect. Spend some time looking around – you’re guaranteed to learn something new.  As for my amazing poetry skills – well, they do come in handy when making up silly limericks for my sons.  But so far, no Nike offers yet…

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