Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Letters to Letters

Read the classified ads lately? Employers must be embarrassed to use their names in classified ads and hide behind letters and numbers.  That is puzzling to me -- they should be happy that business is so good that they need to hire somebody new. On the other hand when applicants apply for jobs, they don't have that luxury. Unlike personal ads, lawyers can’t call themselves something like “Sensitive Overachiever looking for love.”  It’s embarrassing because every blind submission is an admission that a candidate is willing to work for someone they don’t even know.

In the New Mexico Bar Bulletin, legal employers often mask their identities behind letters.  “Two year associate wanted, experience in bankruptcy and litigation; Write to Box S;” For some reason, I’ve rarely seen a box “q,” “r,” and never a box “x.”

Which brings us to the cover letter--every job seeker knows to enclose a cover letter with each resume. It shows that the job seeker is genuinely interested in this particular job and not firing them off at random.  A good cover letter should display an understanding of the firm's practice as well as convey the job seeker's unique qualifications to fill that niche.

But how do you draft a cover letter to a letter?   The following is one attempt.



Dear S:

I am seeking the Solicitor situation shown in the State Bar Bulletin.  I am aware of your sterling status among the letters; in fact the most sizeable volume of the World Book Series is Volume S.  Many scintillating and successful words begin with S, although regrettably I am currently S free.
I am also impressed with your strength at the end of words.  Many words would not be able to become plural, and would remain singular if it was not for S.
Appropriately enough, I am looking to practice in the field of name changes. My slogan would be "Your first vowel is free, consonants assessed according to law."  Obviously I would love the opportunity to tell my clients that if they are going to change their names, S will always be there.
Incidentally, I understand our firm has a good softball team.  I can help you there, as I lettered in college.




I’ve also seen ads in other publications with numbers. “Excellent opportunities for personal injury practice: contact Box 12345.”
But what about letters to box numbers? They have far less personalities than letters. How can the job seeker impress good old Box 289 for example?


BOX 289

Albuquerque, NM 87102

 Dear 289

I am responding to your ad in the Federal Jobs Register.  I have worked for three years for Box 17, which I especially enjoy as it is a prime number. However that does have its drawback, in that my work has not been divisible by others. As 289 is the square of 17, I believe that I would have much to offer, and could bring in potential clients from referrals from Boxes 34, 51 and 68. I would also like to expand our practice to affluent areas like 90210. In law school in the 303 area code, I was 123rd in my class.  As the editor of the "NUMEROLOGICAL LAW JOURNAL," I had an article published on "1983 Suits since 1991; Too much 12(b) 6?" I am also interested in Title Nine work, although I've done considerable work on First Amendment cases. Please contact me at 505-555-5555.



With the advent of computers and e-mail the future of job seeking promises to be even more impersonal. Resumes are already stored electronically, and potential employers can hit a few keystrokes and find their match. Hit {ctrl f5, alt f6} to hire their new litigator. So job seekers might as well be original and write cover letters like the ones above -- if not they’ll be just another number.

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