I've applied for LOTS of jobs. As in 100's, as in more than 300. And I've even gotten a few of them, but they've all been temp-y. So, at a friend who's helped edit so many cover letters request, I'm posting a smattering of them. Here's what someone who has successfully written a thesis paper spends her time on now! (All have been edited to remove the glaringly obvious potential employers, still, some of you may recognize yourself).
To Whom It May Concern:
I attended Oregon College of Art & Craft for my undergraduate studies, where the joke is that you can always tell an alumnus when you see them in a gallery because they will be more interested in how the art is attached to the wall than the art itself. I specialize in marrying one object to another in interesting and idiosyncratic ways, enough so to get me through graduate school with an MFA from the Art Institute of Boston.
I also used to run my own gallery on the Oregon Coast, and I have been recently engaged with installs and art hauling for the Mary Elizabeth Dee Shaw gallery in Ogden, Utah. I can’t think of a recent time that I’ve been happier than when balancing an enormous dog head made out of recycled couches and drywall screws, on top of a 20 foot lift, wearing a respirator in the sun, except maybe when I’ve finished swiftly and compactly loading a 26 foot Penske and have my convenience store coffee in hand, about to shuttle forth on a new hauling adventure across the American West.
As a sculptor and assistant to other sculptors I have found it imperative to be an organized, efficacious communicator, as well as a meticulous studio tech. I know how help to keep an antique print-shop running, find my way around a table saw, and ask questions when I feel uncomfortable.
I appreciate a well-made crate, though part of way I'm interested in this position is that I have not had enough opportunity to create my own. I'm familiar with opening crates, but couldn't tell you the difference between a stat crate and a shadow box. I'm interested in expanding my skill set, and have always been a quick study.
I’m quite comfortable standing, kneeling, bending, bowing, lifting cumbersome objects, alighting on points and sliding down handrails. I'm always at the ready for the next physical adventure. I lean into ladders with aplomb. I pay attention to detail to a fault. I'm willing to work for peanuts (or around $15-$20 an hour).
I hope you’ve enjoyed considering me for this position, and I hope to hear from you soon. Happy Holidays!
To Whom It May Concern:
Though I have only been an amateur gardener on my personal 1.25 acre xeriscaped ancestral plot in Eastern Washington, I feel like I would be a qualified candidate for the gardener position at the Natural History Museum. I prune fruit trees as part of my artistic endeavors, including 30-year-old apple and plum trees. Though I don’t have formal training in the horticulture of Southern California, I find that I’m friendly with many of the plants here as their close relatives are present on the dry side of the Pacific Northwest. Also, I have been an urban park ranger, so I’m familiar with the joys of working outside in all kinds of weather, including incredibly hot, windy, and freshly reconstituted terribly dry.
I’m currently a volunteer over at the Natural History Museum, so I’m comfortable engaging with guests on the property, as well as interacting with other volunteers. Generally, I’m enthusiastic about getting to spend as much time at the museum as possible, helping out however I can. It would be a pleasure to be around more generally, especially outdoors, especially being productive.
I look forward to hearing from you,
To Whom It May Concern:
I believe I would be an excellent candidate as an Assistant Conservator, even though I have no formal conservation training. I have a degree in craft with a background in cleaning, and have been handling objects from antique taxidermy mounts to ephemeral artist books in a professional capacity for nearly 20 years. I have prepared my own insect and arthropod specimens as a hobby since enjoying an entomology class in college. I also enjoy box building, crating, packaging and un-packaging immensely. I have worked at and created my own art gallery in the past. I have organized databases and even created my own digital projects around the art of sorting bottle-caps (tweentyfourteeth.com). I’m highly attentive to detail, a comfortable writer and documenter, and a big fan of OSHA. I enjoy physical work; in fact it has been the most rewarding part of any job I’ve had. I’m always looking for the opportunity to learn about more tools or to move more heavy, cumbersome objects. I thrive in the company of friendly co-workers, and am great at taking instruction as well as enabling others. I’m probably too good at finding problems that I’m enthusiastic to fix.
I am an active volunteer at the museum, and as such take personal pride in the viewer’s experience and the museum’s collection. Anyway I can further help out in this capacity would be an exciting opportunity.
Thank you for your time,
To Whom It May Concern,
I was pleasantly surprised to come across your call for a part-time studio assistant on the Arts For Los Angeles job list on my Sunday afternoon perusal. How comfortable you all look zipping around on boom lifts and clambering in epic stairwells! I thought “Ah, I have found my people.”
I have a BFA in Craft from the Oregon College of Art & Craft with an emphasis in Fibers, so I have an extensive weaving background, and found the gamps and warps of the work impressive. I’ve done a smattering of off-loom weavings over the years, but I especially connected on the use of alternative media. I also harvest material in the garden of the cast-off, mundane or over-looked. Sourcing has become my favorite social outlet since I moved to Los Angeles in 2013- just last week I finally found the jute store of my dreams over off Fairfax (his father supplied the bamboo for Disneyland’s Tiki Room). I take almost as much pleasure in exploring Los Angeles searching for an obscure tool as I do in using the tool itself. My two-toned put-put-pick-up truck, valid driver’s license and insurance are legendary.
I live for the challenge long hours creating intricate large-scale installations- drill in hand on a scissor-lift with 75lbs of precariously balanced stuffed pinata in Boston summer heat or organizing sequins or bottle caps into the wee hours searching for the perfect color combination. I understand the boom and bust of an artist’s schedule, and thrive on joining an organized crew in creating site-specific installations, whether that be for a photo-shoot, a farmer’s market, a social event, a theater bar, or work more like your own. I relish the minutia in keeping things clean, available to hand, and easy to remove. I leave every site cleaner and more organized than I found it.
I’m comfortable in front of a computer keyboard, but do come from a generation that has learned programs on an as-needed basis. My first memories of a Mac was green letters on a black screen, and I have the same basic skills now as I did then. I know my way around a dSLR camera because I have as much experience using a manual advancing SLR camera (and lots more loading film onto reels in light-proof closets than anyone will ever need again). I maneuver my way around an Excel Spread Sheet and a Vandercook Printing Press with about the same amount of grace, using the same problem solving skills (and fewer wrenches with the spread sheet). Instagram has been my social media of choice (@duckandpisaster). Though I exist on Facebook I have purposely kept my exposure limited. LinkedIn has served me well in years past (molly-painter-2205925), and I have been told my profile is worth reading if you want a good chuckle. I have moonlighted as a receptionist, built non-profit databases, and edited grant proposals, but those feats were more than 5 years ago. I admire people who know CAD, and have every confidence that if they spoke to me softly I could probably muddle my way through it.
I often make my living taking care of people’s homes and pets, so I’m a paragon of personal discretion, and an excellent cat-aunt. I’m also a great first call when an injured bird or rat is found, or it’s discovered that the studio has ants. I also make pretty good coffee and can create nourishing meals regardless of dietary constrictions. I do pretty well with small hominids, too.
I hope to hear from you soon, though I realize this is the 11th hour for this application. Should you have already filled the position maybe I could swing by baring pastries and get a studio tour sometime? I’ll keep my eye out for the work in LAX- I seem to be there often enough these days. Let’s be in touch,
To Whom it May Concern
I have been admiring the Gallery Interpreters even before I became an active volunteer. I love their welcoming attitude and the fully engaged role that they play in encouraging people to actively participate with the museum.
In my past I have enjoyed being an Urban Park Ranger, which suited my outgoing nature by allowing me to interact with park goers in spontaneous settings, as well as during our planned interpretations. My favorite moments were when I would get to introduce people to our docile native snakes, or encourage them to observe our colossal praying mantis’, or help them to identify the many hawks that enjoyed the many squirrels always in the middle of some sort annual symphonic concert or on top of one of the polished classic cars. I acted as support staff to triathlons that began as early as 5:30 in the morning, and also for street dances that lasted as late as 2:00 am. I coordinated with boy scouts building projects, bikers show-shining Harley’s and beautiful ladies dressed as serving wenches setting up fire-spits for renaissance fair. I see a direct correlation between the many jobs I had in the public park setting, and the various projects the museum encourages for members and attendants.
I have a tendency towards passionate autodidacticism that I have felt encouraged by the museum. Though I have very little formal background, I have an appetite for learning more and tend to be a devoted quick study. I also love story telling, and relating to an audience through visual means, which the museum lends itself to in spades.
Thank you for your consideration, and have a fantastic day!