Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I don't actually want the job

I'm hiring an intern. That was my intention, anyways. I'm not pretending it's a sweet deal, but in a down market, it's a local gig that can build up some nice connections and generally keep a kid busy for the summer. These are MBAs. They can do the math. 

I submitted a posting to the career office, who I know pretty well. I said I wanted an MBA who loved - or at least could spell - my esoteric little corner of the geek universe. I'm not in the facebook app space or the iPhone app space, or frankly, the ANY app space. So, I wanted someone who could hit the ground running, at least from a VAGUE DOMAIN perspective. 

By analogy, if you were a food company - but your orientation was towards organic snack foods, you really don't want to teach anyone the organic market. Or the snack food market. It's a funny little corner of soy-based gluten-free locally sourced weirdness. I'm out there making carob-flavored rice cakes for the people who care about that stuff.

Now, the intern applicants I've gotten so far have written some version of this cover letter:

Dear X,

I am submitting the attached resume for the position of Intern with CarobCakes Inc. I look forward to hearing from you.

Bob

Um. How is that a cover letter?  

So I open Bob's resume, expecting to see positions like "Marketer, Soy Milk." and "Product Manager, Organic Grain Co." This would explain why Bob had to say so very little in his cover letter. He's clearly exactly the right person for the job. 

But no. I have resumes for people who have backgrounds in Sporting Goods Retail. Gaming Systems. Medical Devices. Things entirely unrelated to food, let alone snack foods, organic foods, or anything even remotely edible.  And, these very people didn't write a cover letter explaining why their background in Medical Device Manufacturing was actually just a cover for their passion for organic cooking, since they learned, 10 years ago, that their favorite sibling has a longstanding gluten allergy, and thus they spend their copious free time baking muffins out of potatoes to make Tiny Tim happy. THAT would be a good story.

So, I have to ask - why would I ever interview these people? If you're unemployed out there. Or just need a new job.. here's tip #1: Write 1 sentence about why you might be a good candidate. It might make all the difference. 

2 comments:

Capt. BS said...

In this day and age, the cost of spamming your resume to everyone with an open internship in the greater Boston area is roughly zero. So, I'd say he's got little to lose by trying.

Now, if there were a region-wide blacklist for obvious resume spam, then maybe it would be a little different...

Priya said...

isn't this what you call the presumptive close? "hi i'm lilac. i trust you'll understand why you should buy my product without my even having to say a word. here are some contracts for you to sign. call me. peace"