Friday, February 21, 2014

I sound like a dick in my cover letters

A few months ago, I was trolling the internet looking for my next gig, something to keep me going just a little longer, because I'm a freelance-everything, and that's pretty much just what you have to do with your life.  I was looking at Stage Management jobs, and I happened to come across a post for an off-night show which was... pretty much perfect for me, since I perform on Saturday nights.  I composed a cover letter for this job, and pretty much immediately thought I sounded like a self-important dick.  What the hell, I thought, and sent it anyway.  I got that job within the hour, no interview required. 

I've been keeping it in my back pocket, for the times when I really want to be considered for something, and I've had some good opportunities crop up in the last few weeks that called for its modification and return to service.  Surprise, surprise, I got called to schedule an interview less than an hour after I sent it in. 

What I've discovered is something that isn't exactly new.  In fact, it's something that I totally already knew, once upon a time.  I must have forgotten it somewhere along the line of spending three years frying my brain cells out under someone else's fluorescent lighting.  Confidence makes you look competent. 

Confidence makes you look competent. 

I'm not saying that confidence alone is going to qualify you for a job you're not competent at, but it sure seems to go a long damn way.  I've spent so long apologizing for myself, apologizing for somehow managing to be good at Stage Management and writing and photography.  When you write it out, it doesn't seem to be so nonsensical, but in my brain, somehow being demure and apologizing for my abilities equaled being a humble and hardworking employee.  Someone who wouldn't be difficult to work with.  Someone who would just put their head down and do the job and not bitch about it. 

But, to employers, I'm guessing what that says is "I need handholding, because I cannot see how I can possibly manage this task on my own."  or "Ehh... I was mediocre at this, but I still want to keep trying."

Walking into a room, however, and announcing to the group that yes, I'm here, and yes, I'm fabulous... well, that either makes you look like an ignorant blowhard... or it makes you look like yes, you're here, and yes, you really are fantastic at what you do, and you don't need anyone else's validation or handholding to tell you that. 

Who knew?

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