Now that Cassie is in preschool, I am available to work, full time. Finding a job is hard. Due to CRPS, I cannot drive long distances – that is, distances longer than 30 miles. Because I have two children and pretty much no regular support network, I must remain close enough to respond quickly if there is an emergency. My best bet in finding work is to find a job that allows me to telecommute. These options do exist, especially for writers, but it’s still a bit of a problem.
That brings me to my second problem. I hate writing cover letters. What I want to write and what is appropriate to write are two completely different things. For example, this is what I want to write to the companies looking for a Technical Writer:
I am one of the best technical writers you will ever find. In fact, I may be the best technical writer you will ever find. I am an expert in Adobe FrameMaker and PDF. I dream about XML. (It’s true. Ask me.) I may not know Some Specific Software or Your Specific Product yet, but I will learn it so fast you will not believe I didn’t know it before I was hired. For example, I was hired by Oracle to write about FrameMaker+SGML, a product I had never used. In two weeks, I published the first release notes. They were good. They got even better the more I learned. Why? Because I wasn’t an expert to start out, I knew what beginning and intermediate users wanted to know.
That’s how I work. I consider the user, or customer, first. All of my writing is reader-centric. In the good ol’ days, I could correspond or even meet with users and ask them what they wanted to know. Sadly, technical writing has been reduced to “weight in the box” or a checkmark on a development plan. I’m applying to Your Company because your Job Description interests me, makes me think that maybe technical writing is more than just an afterthought. I think you and I have similar goals. Let’s talk!
This is what I want to write to the companies looking for social media and marketing coordinators:
Yes, most of my experience is in technical writing. You probably think that technical writers sit at a desk all day, staring at a program, boiling the joy out of every word to create the most mundane, incomprehensible documents possible. Not so! A good technical writer, like me, interviews subject matter experts, tries her best to talk to actual customers to find out what they want, contributes to the development and marketing of a usable product, and tries to inject some life into words that often must be chosen ever so carefully so they can be translated into seven or more languages.
Beyond the technical writing, however, you should know that I do have an extensive background in marketing communications. I wrote Hotmail’s first media kit. I designed collateral for the oldest theatre group in New Hampshire, which the group’s president said “increased [their] results more than [they] ever could have imagined.”
As for social media, in addition to my popular personal blog, I was a paid blogger for Adoption.com. I wrote 3-4 blog posts per week about adoption-related topics, which are far more diverse than you may realize. Some of my favorite posts include Racism in Health Care, The Relationship Between Trash and Race, movie and book reviews, and interviews with authors and parents.
In short, I rock!
And then, there are the blogger positions:
I am damn fine writer. I am educated. I have a degree from one of the best universities in the world. I know when to use dashes, semicolons, and hyphens. Heck! I know there’s a difference between a dash and a hyphen! People who text me apologize in advance for their grammar. I once started a Facebook war because I had to tell someone there was a big difference between “bawling her eyes out” and “balling her eyes out.” (Seriously, that’s not something you want to get wrong.)
I will never give you cause to wonder, “is she going to write her post?” or “how is she going to come up with 500 words on that?” I always make my deadlines. Even when my mother died, I just turned it into a post for Adoption.com.
You would be lucky to have me write for you. I know that sounds cocky, but I’m just that good.
But I can’t write that.
I try to at least let some of my personality come through, but it’s hard. So hard. And some employers don’t even let you have a cover letter. You apply through their sites, upload your resume, and never hear another word. Very disheartening.
I completely redid my online professional presence. My resume and portfolio are now available at Robyn’s Writing. If you feel like it, go on over and send me some feedback. Oh, and if you need any kind of a writer, I’m your woman!