Monday, January 31, 2011

a little imagination....

A little imagination can go a long, long way. Not to mention the fun of it. And then all the surprises that ensue. I'm going to tell you a story, just in case you've forgotten that you do have one (an imagination, that is). I'm telling this story for any and all of you who may be looking for new work or may have forgotten that even if you're happy with your work, there's always room for more...FUN.

It all started when I was living in the Seattle area. I had just quit the most horrific job I'd ever had (the money was great; the hours were brutal; the stress was enormous.) and was trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I was driving around one day and heard an ad on my favorite radio station: WE'RE HIRING NEW ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES. Boyhowdy! I can do that!

Having been in some form of sales my whole life, I knew that even though I didn't have experience in that particular arena (radio sales), I did have the qualifications they were looking for. Namely, a good attitude, good people skills and a boat load of enthusiasm. I figured that might be enough to get myself in the door for an interview. When I got home, I sat down with pen and paper, trying to come up with a cover letter for my resume. The ad had said to fax the resume to a particular man by such-and-such a date. I had a week before that window closed.

As I sat there, I recall being a bit daunted by the fact that it was CBS radio; at the time it was one of the largest in the city. This in itself was daunting enough but the problem wasn't that I was scared of the size of the company. The problem was that I was at a loss for "how" to get this man's attention. I was quite certain there would be hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. How was I going to stand out?

Each time I finished what I thought was a 'good enough' cover letter, I'd re-read it and then crumple it up and toss it in the trash can. After about a half dozen attempts, as I tossed the crumpled ball of paper toward the trash can (and missed) I had this terrific idea. What if I didn't fax it? What if I hand delivered it instead. With a little "twist".

I got on my computer, found a clip-art pic of a trash can with crumpled balls lying all around it, and pasted it on the very top of the page. In red letters I wrote:

In the event that this position has already been filled, this cover letter has been pre-crumpled for your convenience.

In green letters I then wrote:

In the event that said position has not been filled, please phone me immediately to schedule an interview.

I then wrote my cover letter, keeping it short and to the point. Basically, all I said was that I had no previous experience in radio sales, but had much experience with people. I didn't go all into a bunch of fluff. I just stated the facts and kept it very brief.

I then crumpled up the cover letter, flattened it out again, and stapled it to the resume. Put all that into one of those plastic cover thingies and rode the ferry over to Seattle. When I arrived at the station, I asked to see the man who would be doing the interviews. He came out, I introduced myself and handed him the envelope with my resume. I then thanked him for his time and left the building.

By the time I got back to the island, there were THREE messages from the man. The first message cut off before he finished, mostly because he was laughing so hard. The second message also cut off, because he was all agog at what I'd done. Finally, on the third message he managed to leave his name and direct line so I could return the call and schedule that interview.

Two weeks and several interviews later, I got the job.

All on account of a crumpled up cover letter and the mindset to not take myself so seriously.

Go figure.