Cover letters

I'm lucky to have a lot of people helping me with my job search.

Falina Dovick blogs for CBC News on her job search

I'm lucky to have a lot of people helping me with my job search.

I've been meeting with one of the career counsellors available to UPEI students, and she's been providing me with encouragement and a lot of great advice. I also have the support of friends and acquaintances, all of whom have struggled with job searching, many of whom are still struggling.

I have five years of academic writing experience, I have handouts, I have advice and moral support — and I still can't write a cover letter.

Part of the problem is that I feel like the purpose of the cover letter is to show how many different ways you can say things you already said in your resume. For example, I found a job listing earlier this week for a position that I'm excited about. I polished my resume, studied my template, and proceeded to write what I thought was a pretty good cover letter.

As a precaution I sent it to my friend, an MLIS grad, technical coordinator, author and cover letter/resume whiz.

The ensuing conversation went something like this:

Me: How about this? "UPEI graduate seeking..."

Friend: That's good. You need that in your cover letter, because it doesn't inspire much confidence right now to be honest.

Me: It's already in my resume. That was a direct quote.

Friend: Why isn't it in your cover letter too? Also, put something like, "And I believe I would be a great fit for your corporation" in the third paragraph. It promotes inclusivity, and says you are seeing yourself in their future.

Me: I already said almost the exact same thing earlier in the letter.

Friend: What did you say?

Me: "I believe that my strengths and experiences would make me an asset in this position."

Friend: That is not even close to the same thing, but you can change the second "I believe" to "I see myself as" if you want.

Me: Seriously? Does any of this really make sense to you?

Friend: Yes.

Me: What if, instead of repeating myself over and over, I just …

Friend: No.

Since I began my job search, I sometimes feel like my life is becoming a Dilbert comic. I can't argue, though — Charlotte has a great job, and all I've read and heard suggests that jumping through these well-established hoops works, no matter how ridiculous it can seem at times.

All I can hope is that eventually these steps will make sense to me, or result in a job offer — whichever comes first.