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I remember when I wrote my first resume. It was in one of the final years of high school, where we learned how to write a letter of application and create a resume. Back then, my friends and me, we joked our way through it. We followed the basic guide lines provided by our teacher and put together the most basic and unoriginal letter of application ever. The same goes for our resumes, short and simple. Back then, I thought this was enough to get me a job. Just write a letter like everybody else does, send it over to the company you are applying it and just wait for them to invite you to a personal interview and finally, get the job.
But what I realized, is that this is a lie. When I turned sixteen, I started looking for a job. I wrote at least a dozen of application letters, all according to the same basic formula I had learned in school, and sent them to companies that were hiring or shops that I would like to work at. Only one of them replied, and invited me to an interview. I was so nervous and had no idea what to expect, but at the back of my mind, this little voice whispered that if they invited me to come talk to them, surely they must want to hire me? Right?
They did not hire me. I was devastated. I did everything as I was supposed to do, and they still did not hire me? Bumped and disappointed, I started looking around again. At the window of one of the drugstores in town, they had put up a sign, asking for people. People like me! I applied, without writing a basic letter of application or sending an empty resume, but by just signing down my name. I was invited for an interview and, rather miraculously, I got the job.
That was when I was sixteen. A couple of weeks ago, when I am nineteen years old, I started looking around again for a new job. I found out that one of my favorite clothing stores was hiring new people and I applied for it. But this time, I did it my way. I stayed away from the old generic formula they taught me in his school – I was original. I wrote passionately about my drive to succeed and my love for fashion. I wrote about how I want to be a fashion journalist when I graduate from college. I wrote how honored I would be to work at that company.
To top it all of, I did something my sixteen year old self would never ever have thought of: I added a quote. “Create your own style… unique to yourself and yet identifiable to others”, said Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue. I put it in my letter of application, because I felt it showed who I was and what fashion means to me. I felt that it would contribute to my character and that it would actually work in my favor, as it would distinguish me from other applicants. So I send in my completely rogue letter of application – and then I waited.
About a month later, I received a call from an unknown number while I was in class. Rather hesitantly, I called back a little later, surprised that it was the clothing store on the other line. They invited me for an interview and a few days later, I sat down in my carefully picked out outfit. I had to fill in some forms and I had a lovely chat with the store-manager. We talked about my previous work experiences, why I would be very suitable for the job and, of course, fashion. As I shook her hand in goodbye, I was so sure I got the job. But when the store called me back a few days later, I unfortunately did not get the job.
Once more, I was devastated. I really, really wanted that job and I did not get it. That was weeks ago. Right now I am in the process of looking around again, looking for companies who would be willing to hire me. It is not easy and it is definitely not always fun, but I learned that you just have to go through it. Nobody gets a job by just sitting around – you have to work for it! Which is exactly what I am going to do now, by updating my resume and writing the most creative, original and unique application letters I can.