Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Cover Story

I recently sent a cover letter with my resume to an arts space in Harford, CT whose job ad asked for an "interesting cover letter".  What does that mean?  I don't know but here's the letter:

"You have asked for an “interesting” cover letter as part of the submission for the Visual Arts Manager position open at (deleted).  Interesting is such an interesting word.  In fact, defines it as “1. engaging or exciting and holding the attention or curiosity, 2. arousing a feeling of interest,” which I find is not interesting but boring, if accurate.

As it happens, “interesting” is used for a variety of meanings.  When one is uncertain of the quality or value of a subject, “interesting” is often applied.  It is also used sarcastically when a subject is decidedly uninteresting.  And while a person or thing may hold one’s attention, “interesting” is still too ambiguous to explain why one’s attention is held. 

It is curious then that you would choose such a word to describe the type of letter you are seeking from applicants.  I am sure that cover letters are boring and tedious to read – they certainly are that to write.  But wouldn’t you prefer something clever or amusing or creative?  Surely these adjectives better describe the art and programs (deleted) offers to the public, and reflect the manner in which the gallery seeks to connect with the Hartford community.  After all, it is called the “Creative Cocktail Hour.”  Surely, Real Board (Games) is fun and Improvisations are celebratory, not merely interesting. 

And why limit yourself to a selection of “interesting” candidates? Are you unsure of the qualities and experience you seek in such candidates?  Just what do consider interesting in others?  If you are hiring a Visual Arts Manager capable of juggling the daily tasks of the job, curious about art and current events, and eager to engage with the Hartford community then you need someone who is dedicated, creative, intelligent and possessing a fun, lively personality.  I like to think these are the traits that define me and are more specific about my ability and perspective than merely “interesting”.  I would like to work with an arts organization that embodies these traits and hires others who exhibit them which is why I am submitting my resume and cover letter to you.  

I would not be at all interested in working with (deleted).  I would, however, be delighted to work with an organization as exciting and important as yours."
I don't know if I will get any response to this but I have applied to this particular center multiple times with no response other than a curt we-said-we'd-let-you-know-if-we-cared when I attempt to follow up.  So this time I sent a risky letter and am not contacting them to see if they read it or have considered meeting me.  I don't really know anyone in that area who is involved with this center so my chances are greatly diminished from the get go -- this is not my excuse -- art is a stingy bitch, I know -- but at this point why not have some fun with this whole job thing? 

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