Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to not get a job

I'm a cool guy, and to keep my place in the hierarchy of society as a cool guy, I always need to be doing cool things. In this particular instance, I'm talking about when I bought a Wii, because there was a point in time when having a Wii was pretty cool. As it turns out, Wii is actually one of the biggest scams of all time. The graphics suck, the motion controls don't really work, you can't watch DVDs on it, really you can't do much except play the games that are on Wii. Here is the second part of that problem. The games on Wii are horrendous. Sure, the staples are fine. Any Mario/Zelda game is going to be fine. But what a slippery slope the system takes down from there.

In order to validate my purchase, I decided that instead of admitting defeat and trading the system away while it still had some value, I would need to dig deep and find some quality games. Upon Bruce's recommendation I checked out IGN and started looking through the trenches to find some games that didn't totally suck ass. I ended up finding a couple good ones I never would have heard about, so pretty much every day I check IGN just to see if anything groundbreaking is up.

Well, on October 12th, there certainly was something of note. This was the news story on their front page. It was a call that they were hiring editors. If you read the article they posted, it seems like they don't take themselves too seriously. Which makes sense if you've ever seen Grandma's Boy.

Here is my cover letter for that job. I will include analysis after any points which I see fit:

To whom it may concern,
Let me begin by writing that I am not comfortable beginning with such a formal statement when applying for a job at a videogame company. As it would seem on your “call to arms” online, this is one job that requires a certain type of laid-back personality. Maybe not as lax as the guys from Grandma’s Boy, but I think you catch my drift.
Ok, so film studies taught me to underline the titles of movies. Good work.

Here are the facts: my name is Richard Shilling. I am Canadian. Along with that goes every stereotype you could possibly come up with. I love hockey and beer, and I am always cold. I go to the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Every day I wake up and wonder who decided that this would be a good place to start a city, it has seriously got to be the coldest place you could ever imagine. It got down to -50 degrees Celcius (that’s -58F for you Yanks) last year and I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive the day.
I had to use a unit converter online to get Celsius to Fahrenheit. This paragraph has absolutely no business being in a cover letter.

When I was a little boy, every three years I would ask for the same birthday present: a re-subscription to Nintendo Power magazine. This was before the days of IGN, when I was forced to play Pokemon without a walkthrough (which led to me using my Master Ball on Zapdos). I fantasized about having a career in the videogame industry, and when I saw this ad online, I was overcome with a rush of nostalgia. All my life I’ve loved videogames, and now this is a chance to realize my sickest fantasies.
Think they stopped reading after this point?

I believe that my first time playing through the Shadow Temple was scarier than the first time I watched SAW. I believe that every business course should have a week where students must negotiate certain Pokemon trades. I believe that plumbing is an honest day’s work, because if you can work with poo all day, surely there is nothing that can bring you down. I have signed up for online dating websites, with one of my sticking points being how I can play Guitar Hero guitar and drums on expert. Between my roommates and myself, we have three PS3s, three Xbox 360s, and two Wiis. Videogames have had an enormous presence throughout my life.
Unfortunately for me, everything in this paragraph is true.

If you can believe it, I do enjoy activities other than gaming. I love hockey, to the point where I decided on a whim last year that I was going to start a blog about my beloved Calgary Flames. That material is available at Be warned: there is some harsh language. I prefer to think of it as “colorful”. As well, I have recently teamed up with another blogger who worked for TSN as an intern this summer; that material is available at I think that even without a strong hockey background the material is accessible; I mostly aim for writing that comes off as dry and extremely sarcastic. You’ll find links to some of my personal favorite entries in the e-mail I sent.
Major league name drop: "I write with a guy who got coffee for the guys at TSN this summer". Sold.

I hope this cover letter finds you well and I certainly hope it stands out, as I am sure you are going to be flooded with all sorts of attempts to beg and plead for jobs. So to conclude, when continuing the hiring process, just remember that Bioware is located in Edmonton. If the city can produce one good thing, certainly it can produce another. Also, I want to move to the Bay Area upon graduation, but honestly I’d rather get there ASAP, something I could justify doing if I actually landed this job (I’m in my fourth year of studies right now).
-Richard Shilling
I would LOVE to leave Edmonton and move to San Francisco.

This is really more of a cry for help than anything, can somebody please teach me how to write a proper cover letter? 

1 comment:


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