My Miss Communication

by Kristian Ibarra, Sports Editor

Most of us spent a good portion of our childhoods wishing we were older. We wished we could drive, spend our own money on whatever we wanted to and eat ice cream for dinner. We wanted to be grown-ups. Because despite the never-ending groans our parents radiated in their attempt to keep a roof over our naïve little heads and Rice-A-Roni on the table, growing up seemed like the thing to do.

But then you start to grow up and you realize how not fun it is. A big part of the “not fun” aspect? Jobs. It’s not even so much the “working” part as much as it is the job-hunting process that harnesses the capacity of breaking even the most confident of people.

If you’re lucky, your hunt starts with a personal lead — just like mine did a year ago. It wasn’t technically for a job as much as an internship, but stay with me here.

I’d met with an adviser who pointed me in the direction of the best sports writing internship in town. For the sake of its privacy, I won’t name the place (but a simple Google search should give your mind a concrete landing spot).

And so the process began.

First came the carefully crafted resume (or is it résumé? I never know). Soon after, the cover letter came together. It was a good cover letter, too. I managed to toss words like “methodical” and “facilitated” in there, just like all those websites encourage you to do. Before I knew it, my email was making its way through the information superhighway and into my addressee’s inbox. All I could do now was wait.

Luckily the wait wasn’t very long. Soon after, I found myself sitting inside of the lobby waiting for my interviewer to come snatch me up. I wasn’t terribly nervous, particularly because I made sure to sport my nice shoes — everyone respects a dude in nice shoes.

But then the elevator doors opened and my interviewer was in plain sight. He was a man — a tall, elderly, bearded man. The problem? My “good cover letter” was addressed to a “Ms.” and not a “Mr.” I won’t reveal his actual name, but just know he’d been cursed with one of those androgynous names like Jamie or Morgan. But for somebody who claimed he was “incredibly detail oriented” on his resume, this was no excuse.

I needed much, much nicer shoes to get myself out of this one.

We walked toward each other; each step felt like my last. The whole time I was worried he’d greet me with a curtsy or a princess handshake just to mock my embarrassingly under-researched cover letter. Thankfully, he didn’t.

It was actually a pretty pleasant interview filled with about as much sports talk as a person can handle. We should have been inside of a studio with microphones in front of our faces with how much back and forth we had. After about 30 solid minutes of chitchat, the internship was mine.

In spite of my not-so-good cover letter, I managed to spend some four exciting months filled with solid sports writing to show for it.

The moral of this long-winded tragedy turned success story? Make sure you do your due diligence when writing cover letters. Personalize them. Research every last little detail to make sure a few paragraphs on a piece of paper isn’t the reason you don’t get the job.

But always make sure you wear really nice shoes — you know, just in case.