Millie Meinwald to a prospective employer, January 17, 2005

A monkey could do this, but you have to hire a human, so you might as well hire me.

Dear Prospective Employer,

I am writing in regards to your posting for a new Administrative Assistant at Hudson, Singer and Levine. I am not qualified for or interested in this position, but I’m getting sort of desperate.

I graduated somewhere in the middle of my class at Ohio State University, where I majored in English because it seemed like the easiest thing to do and it kind of pissed off my dad. This was obviously a huge mistake as now I have no marketable skills. I have zero experience as an administrative assistant, but since I’m a functioning adult, I bet I could do it. My past employment has included a work-study job at the library, which mostly consisted of sitting in front of gchat all day, and this one week where I worked as a sandwich maker at the Pita Pit, where I learned about how to deal with annoying customers. But since I got fired for kicking people out if they were ugly, I won’t do that at your company.

I’m not passionate about whatever it is you do. I don’t even remember what job this is anymore because this is like the 79th cover letter I’ve written in the past month.

But I’ll show up to work and for the most part not piss anyone off, and in a few months you seriously won’t even notice me. I look forward to hearing from you soon, unless you want to drag out this hiring process even longer even though you have an actual job to fake doing.

Sincerely,

Millie Meinwald

Analysis:

The cover letter is one of the longest serving and most widely used letters in all of human history. Archeologists digging near the Lascaux Caves found shards of cover letters and resumes. One particularly well-preserved example was later translated by Dr. Angelo Ping-Ping of the Sorbonne:

Dear Hunter,

Me Gatherer. Would like become hunter. Am strong. Can provide spear. You contact Hairy Foot at time when sun is highest. He chief gatherer. He provide excellent recommendation.

Sincerely,

Gatherer

The Romans famously used cover letters during the Republican period, but the practice was wiped out as the Imperial family gained strength and streamlined the application process for government jobs. In medieval France, cover letters were widely sent from peasants to their lords, offering to work for food, or if the economy was sluggish, not being smashed with a mace. The Aztecs famously accepted resumes and cover letters from prospective human sacrifices. Commonly, these prospects would exaggerate just how big their hearts and other organs were, which often led to disappointed high priests.

In modern society, the cover letter serves two main purposes. The first is to test a prospective employee’s ability to write a cover letter. The second is to test the prospect’s ability to include the cover letter in an email attachment or fax. Both of these are considered extremely important in the modern economy. As such, the employer will very carefully skim the cover letter. If he finds it is indeed present, he will then check to see if a resume is attached as well. Once these two documents are deemed sufficient, the application is carefully shredded and the job is then filled by the employer’s nephew. In such a fast-paced economy, there can be no inefficiencies.

Luckily for recent college graduates, there are only few boss’s nephews left unemployed these days, so some, maybe even dozens, actually stand a chance of getting hired. Of course, studying something stupid like “English” will never get you hired, which is why most people recommend you have your entire life figured out at 18, and that you should figure on being an engineer. That way, you can impress the person hiring you to answer the phones with your ability to do math.

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