On Applying for a New Job

I applied for a new job several days ago.

Last week, a news organization posted on opening for an editor in their Washington, DC offices. At first, I was intrigued. Then, I thought it would be cool to apply. Then I thought I wasn’t qualified. Then I thought I shouldn’t bother to apply.

Why was I counting myself out? I look at what I do now, I look at what I’ve done in the past, and then I look at what this position would require, and I see nothing I am incapable of doing.

And so I convinced myself to apply. 🙂

I don’t need a new job. I’m quite happy with the one I have. Oh, it could pay better, but that’s a complaint about all jobs since time immemorial. I enjoy my work. It’s creative and challenging and fulfilling. I know it’s not a job that will last forever, but as long as it does last it will be a blast until that last curtain falls.

Yet, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by.

To apply, I needed three things — a resume, writing samples, and cover letter.

I did some substantial revisions on my resume after Christmas; my last resume was the one I put together almost four years ago when I applied for my current job. I think I added a bullet point to one job, took a bullet point away from another job, and added my new mobile number.

Much to my surprise, of the two pieces of the puzzle that remained the cover letter was the easiest of the three to write, and the writing samples were the hardest to assemble.

What made the cover letter easy, since the cover letter is often the most difficult piece of the application process? I interviewed myself, asking myself the questions an interviewer would ask. “Why are you applying?” “What have you done that is applicable to this position?” “What in your experience qualifies you for this position?” “Why should we hire you?” Once I had worked out the answers to these questions, because these are the questions a good cover letter should answer, writing the letter itself proved painless.

Also, working out the answers convinced me even further that I should apply for the job.

Settling on the writing samples, however, was far more challenging. I’ve written — brace yourself — over three million words of copy in the past four years. How do you distill that down into three samples?

I slapped a bunch of work on a flash drive, and read through it in chunks large and small. Ultimately, I settled on three articles; the marketing copy is more representative of what I write daily, but it’s not as interesting to read. I went with the interview with William Shatner from 2009, a feature article on Michael Moorcock and Doctor Who from last summer, and a straight-up reportage article on a vendor’s new publishing initiative.

The three pieces assembled, off to Washington, DC they went.

Will I get the job? Will I even get an interview? I have no idea. I had to take the shot, though.

I do know this, however. I have a metric fuckton of writing to do today at the office. :h2g2:

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