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Employment Guide: Bateman: How to score that awesome job

By Oliver Bateman

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Whether it’s President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address or your parents when you refuse to pay for the food you ate out of their refrigerator, it seems like everybody is talking about jobs nowadays. Whether it’s President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address or your parents when you refuse to pay for the food you ate out of their refrigerator, it seems like everybody is talking about jobs nowadays. In spite of the constant chatter, however, few people wind up landing these coveted positions. But never fear, friends: Over the course of the past decade that we spent trying to shirk gainful employment and malingering when actually employed, we’ve devoted a lot of our downtime to thinking about how to make a big splash in the business world. Now that we’ve got a bully pulpit like this one at our disposal, we’re going to share some scalding-hot tips and tricks with you.

Let’s start with the truest of truisms: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you currently don’t have.” Sure, it sounds like hackneyed advice, but see for yourself what happens when you saunter into the local Arby’s wearing a clean white tank top, ultra-wide JNCO jeans, a snazzy wallet chain and a flat-brimmed baseball cap with its various holograms and stickers still in place. Before you can say “Newt Gingrich,” you’ll be teaching a crack squad of acne-riddled teens how to shave the roast beef and make the curly fries. That’s right — you’ll pass GO and find yourself collecting a cool $200 a week as an assistant manager!

Of course, not every employer has such a rigorous on-site screening process in place. In some cases, you’re going to need to email a cover letter and curriculum vitae to a bunch of soulless HR drones. When writing a letter as important as this one, take nothing for granted. Here’s a powerhouse opener that’s sure to get them talking:

Dear colleagues,

I want to let you know that OSCAR BERKMAN is ready and willing to take this job and run for a touchdown with it. I am incredibly proactive and amazing at many jobs and skills, as you will notice if you skim and/or read OSCAR BERKMAN’s CV (attached). OSCAR BERKMAN has what you’re looking for in an employee, friend/acquaintance, boss and even son-in-law (fingers crossed). What I mean is that I have come to another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right: OSCAR BERKMAN hopes you had the time of your life!

With dearest regards,

OSCAR BERKMAN

That’s a fantastic letter for a host of reasons. First, the writer switched from first to third person more or less at random, which will keep readers on their toes. Second, he mentioned his high level of proactivity, a special form of activity that’s demanded of all knowledge workers in a fast-paced, globalizing economy where even people in Bangladesh shop on Amazon.com and no two countries with Starbucks on adjacent streets in their capital cities have gone to war with one another (to learn more about globalization, read Thomas Friedman’s weekly column in “The New York Times”). Third, he typed his full name in all caps and made sure to drop it repeatedly. We can’t think of anything else that makes an impression quite like this, and it’s sure to keep an otherwise forgettable moniker like OSCAR BERKMAN on everyone’s lips. Fourth — and most importantly — the writer referenced the Green Day hit single “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” a prudent decision that is sure to strike a chord (no pun intended!) with all the Gen-Xers out there.

Once you’ve prepared a cover letter as strong as that one, the CV might seem like an afterthought. And it probably will be, since you’re unlikely to remain unemployed for more than a few seconds after the person reading your letter notices that you’ve been quoting his favorite Green Day song. Nevertheless, there’s no harm in complementing an amazing cover letter with an equally amazing CV. Start by giving them your most up-to-date contact information:

OSCAR BERKMAN

555.555.5555 (hit me with a text cause I don’t answer my cell much)

Email: berksr0x0rz05141982@compuserve.com

ICQ: 43498493843983948343483443434398

AIM: 420bigdogswagdaddy69

After that, list your qualifications, using bullet points for emphasis:

*Regional “All-Madden” 3 years running in Nat’l Tourneys (2009-2011)

*Own my own kegerator

*Ultimate Frisbee

*Able to make web pages with frames

*Can tie cherry stems in knots using just my tongue

*Fancy “executive part” in hair on left side from SuperCuts

These skills, presented in order of importance, are transferable to any career. Even if you’re applying for a really specific-sounding position like civil engineer, keep Ultimate Frisbee near the top of your list. Almost every highly placed person in America has done Ultimate at some point in his or her life, and it’s sure to be a topic of conversation if — excuse us, when — you land an interview.

In fact, the interview you land is likely to be a 60-minute exercise in what experienced workers like us refer to as “shooting the breeze.” Outside of listening to the water cooler make glugging noises, forwarding NSFW chain emails to your coworkers and taping crude inspirational messages (“You don’t have to be crazy to work here … but it helps!”) printed in Comics Sans font to the walls of your cubicle, “shooting the breeze” is about the only thing that happens in a workplace. Thus, when you arrive for the interview, and the interviewer tries to lead you astray by asking you some dull-as-dirt question about what computer languages you know or what kind of grades you got in college, answer in a way that lets him know you’re in on the joke:

“Well yeah, hoss — may I call you hoss? — how about that Giants game last week! That was a real nail-biter. Came down to the last minute. Isn’t that how they usually wind up? Games, I mean. Always coming down to the last minute, except for when they’re not. Say, when’s the break? I’m getting a little thirsty here, and I’d love to visit the water cooler.”

Welcome to the 9-to-5 world, true believers.

Oliver Lee Bateman is the head of human resources for the Moustache Club of America. The Club has been serving up short stories made out of dreams and stardust for the past seven years. You can check out their job listings at moustacheclubofamerica.com, and submit your resumé to oliver.lee1@gmail.com.

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Employment Guide: Bateman: How to score that awesome job