Joe Laliberte: To whom it may concern

It has come to my attention that your company is hiring for some position that I’m sure hundreds of people have already applied for. I guess I would like to add my name to the stack. In the interest of saving both of us time, here is the cover letter that I would really like to write.

As a reputable human resources specialist, I’m sure you receive an endless parade of résumés. I’d like you to know that this is not my first cover letter. In fact, it is my 22nd. And this cover letter is actually original! Cover letters tend to be the most insincere form of the written word. People usually just change the name of the company before they send out a packaged letter which includes the standard lines, “I am writing to express my sincere interest,” and, “With my experience as a blank, blank, and blank I have much to offer blank.”

But I truly believe I would be a great addition to any workplace. I’ve been a producer on a national television show. I’ve taught outdoor and environmental education to high school and middle school students. I’ve served as captain of the rugby team and lead guide for GW TRAiLS. I also occasionally write a column where I espouse poorly held opinions. Maybe if the interview took place with a few beers between us rather than a large desk then you could get to know me beyond two sheets of paper.

In less than three weeks, I will also hold a bachelor’s degree from THE George Washington University. After four years, I can walk away knowing that I really made the most out of my time here. But to what end? Am I a failure because I don’t have a “real” job yet?

I would really like a job at your company because it’s what I’m supposed to want – right? When we graduate college, it is automatically assumed that we begin our careers. Maybe part of the reason I’d like a job is to use that suit I bought a few months ago for more than a sorority formal or a rugby banquet. Or maybe it’s just because the current inevitability of getting into the same car that my parents dropped me off in nearly four years ago to drive back home holds far too much irony.

I’d like to congratulate the person who eventually gets this job – or any graduating college senior with a job, for that matter. It must be nice to have an answer to that excruciating question, “So, what are you doing next year?” I’m beginning to give completely random answers to that question. Drug dealer. Toll-booth attendant. Freelance writer. The latter I could say with some credibility, as I have begun submitting articles to magazines – but to no avail. I frequently answer that question by projecting a sense that I am above it all. “Of course I don’t care that much about a job. I’ll figure it out.”

I’m not sure how the other 1.6 million graduating seniors around the country are faring. I hope they take solace in the notion that someday soon the recession will end. Our parents’ generation will retire. The unemployment rate for those with a college degree is still about half that of the national average. Those with a college degree still, on average, make double the amount of money than someone without a degree would.

If I could say one thing to quell everyone’s anxiety over this atrocious job market it would be this: We’re all going to be all right. Though I have sometimes complained about THE George Washington University, I’m thankful to have gone to a school that really offered so much more than class time and papers.

I thank you in advance for reviewing my attached résumé, and I look forward to the prospect of speaking with you further about any open position.


Joe Laliberte

P.S. I also ask that you do not Google my name for a few months based on the fear you might actually read this column.

The writer, a senior majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.

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