Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dear Potential Employer

Dear Potential Employer,

I received your email today, informing me that you and I are not a correct match. I can't say I didn't see this coming. The fact that I hadn't received a confirmation, "yay-come-in-for-an-on-site-interview!" email "sometime early next week," as predicted by my second interviewer, was a hint. Some say no news is good news and I really tried hard to convince myself of that these past few days, all the while knowing deep down that that isn't always true. It feels dramatic to say that I could physically feel my heart sinking every day I didn't see your email in my inbox, but I'm sadly not even exaggerating.

I am disappointed. So very, very, keenly disappointed. Of course, one doesn't tell you that outright when emailing a "thanks-for-taking-the-time-to-interview-me-best-of-luck-keep-me-in-mind-if-anything-else-arises" response to rejection. One simply states, "I am disappointed, but I understand." Even when it feels like the understatement of the year.

I really wanted this. Call me cliche, call me silly, call me naive, but this really was my dream job. Not only the position, which I would have excelled at, by the way, but the company. You guys are big enough to make a difference, small enough to care for the individual. You haven't outgrown your start-up status, which, in a world where Google and Facebook are becoming increasingly sketchy and secretive, is refreshing because you still feel accountable to the public and are willing to be more transparent with your employees and your users.

I never got the chance to fully explain to you why I'm so interested in the tech industry. Oh, I glanced over it during our interviews and in my cover letter, but with time so tight, I didn't go in depth with my explanation. Well, now I've got the time. So.

Most kids who come out of UCLA as Communication majors tend to go straight into the entertainment industry. It's one of the biggest industries in SoCal, so it just seems logical. And while I've done internships on the fringes of the entertainment industry and love the people who work within it, I myself really wanted to come back up to the Bay Area and find something in the tech business.

Now, I will readily admit that I'm not the most tech-savvy person, nor the quickest adopter of new things. For crying out loud, I used Internet Explorer all the way into college. But I've seen firsthand these past four years how rapidly technology is changing and how useful these new things are in making every day life easier for so many people around the world. The Bay Area and the companies it nurtures are doing so many great things and I want to be a part of it. There are endless opportunities to grow and expand your company's product and its reach and I wanted to help you guys do that.

But it's not only the infinite possibilities that drew me to the tech industry. It's also the fact that at its heart, regardless of the fact that the people involved tend to disproportionately lean towards the male persuasion, the tech industry is a meritocracy. It's about the ideas and the drive and the ambition. It's about the know-how and the abilities of its people and the fun you can have while working. It's about changing lives in quiet ways and big ways and making a difference. It's about giving back and seeing what your limits are and pushing your way past them to ever higher heights. It's about promise and potential and the "maybe's." It's about taking a chance and risking it all and sometimes failing, but always learning and moving forward. It's about being challenged and meeting it head-on and coming out the other end better for having faced it. It's about innovation and collaboration and creativity.

As I've said, I interned within the entertainment industry. And I've seen the resignation with which people sometimes go about their jobs. They aren't excited to go to work, they don't always feel like their opinion matters or that they're making a difference out in the world. The entertainment industry IS quite superficial-- not the people, mind you, but the topic-- and I have a hard time seeing myself thriving within its constraints. It is fun, don't get me wrong, and it can be cool to think you work in the same building as so many large companies with celebrities walking in and out every day, but it doesn't have my heart. I don't know how else to explain it besides that.

I'd love to know what I did incorrectly during our two interviews and various emails. I know it's futile to ask, "What was wrong with me? Why wasn't I good enough? What did the person you hire have that I don't?" when it isn't about me and it's about the position and who's the best person for the job. Logically, I know that. This isn't personal. It's professional. I know. I know, I know, I know. But knowing that it may not be my fault, and that someone just had a better resume/interview than I did, doesn't stop those questions from popping into the back of my mind. I can't help it.

Because everything I've read about your company, everything listed in the job description, everything on my resume, in my cover letter, during our interviews, everything points to the fact that I could have done you proud. I have the past experience and knowledge, the enthusiasm and the determination, the understanding that comes from interning with a PR firm of just how important representing the company AT ALL TIMES really is. I am the calm in the midst of chaos, who handles the problem and gets everything done with a smile. I am organized beyond belief when it comes to all things professional-- I will never lose an email or a document file, so when you need something right now, I'll have it on hand within moments.

I look for ways to make things more efficient or proceed more smoothly, and I will make suggestions on how to bring those things about. I am easy-going, like conversing with strangers, and believe in working as a team to achieve the best result. I am more than okay with strange work hours, am willing to work my way up from the bottom, and don't think that small tasks are "beneath me." I'm responsible, I'm dependable, I'm trustworthy, I'm hardworking, and if those sound like extremely boring adjectives, then so be it. What I do isn't for self-affirmation, but for the good of the company. And I will always, ALWAYS put my best effort into what I do.

All I need is a chance. And I understand that this wasn't my chance right now. Right this moment, with this particular job position, this is someone else's chance. And I'm excited for them. I truly, truly am. I don't begrudge them the position, nor am I angry that you chose them over me. I get it, I do. They were what's best for the company right here and now, and I was not. As recruiters, you make tough decisions like this every day and I admire the fortitude it takes to be the bearer of bad news so often with so many candidates applying for so few jobs. My only hope is that one day it WILL be my chance. And that when it arrives I will see it and be ready for it and make the most of the grand opportunity I've been given.

I really do thank you. You have been nothing but sweet and helpful during this entire process and I do appreciate the time you spent on each individual candidate. I am disappointed that this wasn't my chance, but I'm not devastated or defeated. I do hope I've made a good impression this first time around, because I fully intend to apply for other positions within this company. Like I said, dream job. And how remiss would I be to pass up other chances to have that dream job simply because of one setback?

Best of luck to you, dear potential employer. And thank you again for considering me these last few weeks. It's been a ride.


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