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Claire Diaz-Ortiz Headshot

How To Get A Job: A True Story (Part 2)

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In Part 1, I showed you the awesome email I got from someone who wanted to work for me. Although you can read the whole email here, I'll remind you of the highlights:

  • Direct ask: "I want to work for you and here is why." Bam.
  • Smart flattery: Telling me I'm "amazing" sounds lame, because A) I'm not, and B) you don't know me. On the other hand, telling me I must be trustworthy because I have bangs is just brilliant.
  • Shared interests: East Africa, ballet flats, Chai tea.
  • Witty writing: If you've got it, flaunt it.

Although we all dream of writing the email of our lives and having the intended recipient email back within minutes, that's not what happened. Instead, it took me 27 days to write back. (I just checked). Why did it take me so long?

Like most people who have online lives, I get way too much email. And like most people who get way too much email, on a daily basis I need to more or less live in email-crisis mode -- wherein I write back to things that I deem "urgent" and delete or star everything else (yes, I use Gmail, and so should you). (For a further explanation of how I handle email and what I deem "urgent," see this article.) So once a month or so I go on email blitzes (a term I learned from @chloes) to slam through hundreds of emails in a few hours. A couch with good back support and a dark-chocolate mocha are near requirements for such feats.

So there I was, slamming through hundreds of emails, when I came across the one in question. Truth be told, the subject line looked spammy: "I want to work for YOU!" But when I opened it and saw that it included bullet points and a regular font (both signs that it was not a poor copy-and-paste job sent to thousands of potential employers), I started reading. Like a good book, the first sentence hooked me. And so I kept reading.

By the time I had finished, I wished I had a job to give the lovely young woman, but I didn't, and I wrote her as much. Verbatim, I said: "you are truly awesome and i loved this email. im sadly not hiring right but this ROCKED. could i post this on my blog if i took out some (you tell me) incriminating details? it's like you took a class to write a pitch letter this is so awesome."

For clarification: No, I didn't use a salutation or sign-off. And no, I didn't write with proper capitalization. And no, I didn't spell check or fix the grammar. If you're thinking right now, "Claire, is that really how you write emails to people? That looks like ungrammatical chicken scratch. Aren't you, um, like, an author?" let me reassure you with these words: At least you don't get emails from me. Seriously. According to my inner circle, my emails are some of the most difficult-to-decipher, garbled masses of letters to walk across this fine stage in recent years. But I digress. Back to her.

After I wrote her that aforementioned chicken scratch, she wrote me back. And if she didn't shock me with her news, then my name isn't Claire Diaz-Ortiz. In her email (keep in mind that only 27 days had passed since she initially wrote me wanting to work at Twitter) she told me that she was actually already working for Twitter.

Huh?!

Tune in next time for Part 3 (and remember, Part 1 is still here).