Monday, August 27, 2012

New Routines

Well, still unemployed here in New City. This isn't really a bad thing as many of the positions I applied for have only just begun "interviewing," according to the job application website. So, I'm attempting to remain optimistic, though I suspect I'm not good at writing cover letters (hey, don't judge, I've never done this before).

On a more uplifting note, Boyfriend and I have successfully excavated most of the apartment out of boxes. We now have a fairly recognizable dining room/living room, kitchen, and master bedroom. The second bedroom is more of an office/work room where the last few boxes have gone to die. Maybe I'll get that a bit more cleaned up so I can start writing in there, as opposed to the living room. The dogs have adjusted better now that they have room to run around like lunatics.

One of the most often repeated bits of advice I've seen about job hunting, unemployment, or writing is to develop routines. Day-to-day jobs tend to force routinization as 8 hours of the day are taken up by a job and you still need to eat. Those of us with more flexible schedules need this same sort of routinization. Routines free up mental space to be creative. So, I'm working on making a routine for myself. I need to find time to eat, walk dogs, go to the gym, run errands, job hunt. I'm pretty good on the eating and dog walking part due to the whole necessity thing. I'm getting better on the gym thing. Still working on the errands. Need to nail down specific job hunting times so that doesn't bleed into evening. So, life continues to be more of a fixer-upper than I would like but renovation continues.

Boyfriend and I have started to (re)connect with old friends in the area. The socialization is good but many of these friends are in academia. So far, this hasn't been an issue in conversation. It just feels weird, like putting on old clothes that you loved but don't fit anymore. He hasn't mentioned it as being an issue but I get the impression he feels similarly. We will definitely need to start making some new friends to go with our new life here and hopefully that will help the weirdness. We would like to keep our old friends but I think some new ones would help with our transitions. Hmm...maybe I should look into writing groups while he tries to find a performance group (Boyfriend is a musician in his free time). I'll keep y'all informed on the transition if you do the same. Cheers.


samantha jacob said...

give the complimentary closing at the end of the cover letter.

Job Application Cover Letters 

Post Medievalist said...

I don't know how to write a cover letter either! We could start a club. I've read a few online templates, but I'm pretty sure there's some sort of secret cover letter sorcery that I'm supposed to be able to use. If I find any useful tips I'll pass them along.

recent Ph.D. said...

Here's a cover letter formula that's worked (kinda sorta) for me. Of course, keep it to a single (gasp!) page:

Introduce yourself in the first paragraph, e.g. "I am the Pineapple Sorbet Lady but I'm looking to become the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Queen."

Tell them (also in the first paragraph) where you heard about the job, e.g. "I saw your ad on a tree in the Magical Orchard of Flavors."

In the second paragraph but VERY very briefly tell them why the Pineapple Sorbet Lady wants to become the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Queen. They'll be curious why you're changing careers and getting out of academe, but they'll only stay interested for about a sentence or two. Make this positive and generic -- that is, don't whine about how bad academe is. Give the sanitized version Grandma would be proud of.

Tell them in the rest of that second paragraph all the awesome shit you can do for them. Make them see your value to their company/organization, but don't be an asshole about it. Sell yourself but don't brag. Get them to see you as a resource rather than as someone who would require them to invest resources.

Close by telling them how much you'd like to discuss things further and how much you'd like to hear from them and how they can get in touch with you.

Post Medievalist said...

Now see, that template is very helpful. It's really hard at this point to know whether I'm not getting very many responses because of my materials, or because of my circumstances. If you've had some success with this template it will at least give me some confidence that I'm improving my materials.

Pi said...

Thanks for the template recent Ph.D.! I thought I had most of that in my letters but it may be specific enough to each job. I'll work on that.

Likewise Post Medievalist, I have no idea if the lack of response is to my materials or some other issue. Whenever I reach an actual human being in human resources and ask about my rejection, I get a stock answer that is rather unhelpful.

Good luck to you PM on your job search.