I’m applying for a rockin’ job at my school library this fall, and I’m writing a cover letter to (hopefully) help me nail it. Most students, I’m thinking, will just fill out the application form with schedule information and GPA, and leave it at that.
The job is in the library Special Collection, which contains two original Shakespeare Folios and dozens of other old or important manuscripts. I’m studying dramaturgy with an emphasis in Shakespeare (and planning to earn a master’s in library sciences after I graduate, among other things), and this is pretty much a Dream Student Job. I mean, I REALLY want this job.
I spoke to one of the admin staff (not the woman who’ll be hiring me) when I was in town last week, and she said I might have difficulty being hired because I don’t have work-study funds this year – the Special Collection has a teeny-tiny budget, but they’ll spend it on somebody who’s perfect for the job. (Which is totally me, but they don’t know that yet!)
QUESTION THE FIRST: Now, the reason I don’t have work-study funds is that I went on Jeopardy! last year, racked up a great score (and absolutely slaughtered the Shakespeare category), and made enough money that the Feds didn’t qualify me for work-study. But I’m spending that money on tuition, books, and rent for this year, so I’ll be back in the work-study bracket next year. (I talked to my accountant, the Federal Student Aid helpline, and my school’s financial aid office, and they’re all in agreement about that.)
So, should I mention that in my cover letter? I know that the letter is supposed to be all about why you’re perfect for the job, and bringing up the Jeopardy thing is just “braggy” enough to make me a little bit uncomfortable. On the other hand, saying “you’ll have to pay me this year, but for the rest of my time at the university, I’ll have work-study money” seems like something good to say.
QUESTION THE SECOND: Living in Oregon Shakespeare Festival-Land as I do (and as the university does), there’s a lot of crossover between Festival staff and the university’s theater program. Specifically, one man, a dramaturg at the Festival, who does a lot of readings, lectures, and talks around town. I’ve met him a few times, and he’s absolutely brilliant. Everyone I’ve talked to about him (library staff, professors, coworkers, Festival actors) loves him. I want to be him.
When I talk about how my goals are in line with the experience the job will give me, should I say something like “I want to be the female version of Barry Kraft?” I think it would make my cover letter stand out to reference such a popular and well-liked member of the Shakespeare community here, and give them a good idea of where I want my career to go. On the other hand, I don’t know, maybe the head of hiring really really hates Barry for some reason or other.