McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: An Honest Intern Application Cover Letter.
Dear Potential Internship,
I am currently completing my fifth and final year at my four-year college. I have happily drained all of my money, along with my parents’ savings account into said college with one goal in mind: to work for you for free. Though I have spent the last half decade, and $80,000 learning about a single topic, I assure you that I know only enough to not run your company into the ground, but not quite enough to get paid. I would relish the opportunity to not be noticed in your office building for a few months, so one day I can ask another company to pay me.
The only thing I ask in return for my free labor is some “insight into the industry.” Which is to say, I’ll run out the clock bringing you coffee while you get my name slightly wrong every time we interact. This internship will allow me to put your company name on my résumé, so that one day the manager of the restaurant I wind up working at can know what my dreams once were.
I hope the calculated and evenhanded wording of this letter gives you a professional image of me. At the very least, I hope it cancels out the actual images you might’ve seen of me on Facebook, wielding an array of glow sticks and a quart of vodka. I also hope that this saccharinely optimistic tone I’ve been using properly masks the growing desperation I feel when I think of my future.
I can prove myself an asset to your company; having “invested in myself,” I will cling onto anything resembling a job with a death grip.
In closing, I am so very glad that the cover letter, something that was once a nice personal touch, has become another hoop to jump through in the application process. I’ve spent the last quarter of my life — along with every dollar to my name — on an education; something hailed by high school teachers everywhere as “the key to my future.” And it is comforting to know that the success of all this effort hinges on a 500-word document. It seems mutually beneficial that you as an employer have to re-read a hyperbolized version of my résumé in paragraph form, and that I have to write something unique and personal, while using the cadence of an office memo.
Thanks for your consideration,
A future overqualified bartender