Thursday, April 13, 2006

Revisiting a quaint tradition from days of yore

I'm in the midst of searching for some extra hours of employment, and some of the jobs I am applying for do not leave email addresses, instead requesting applicants to send in a handwritten cover letter and a paper copy of the resume.

Except for jotting down blog ideas in my moleskine notebook, I realized it's been a long time since I've handwritten anything. I enter phone numbers directly into my cell phone, shopping lists on my palm pilot, scheduled appointments directly into iCal on my computer which I then load onto my ipod. And I've emailed resumes as Word attachments for most of my adult life.

So this handwriting of cover letters seemed like a trip down memory lane. Apparently some French companies still use in-house graphologists. I really have no idea what sort of things they can tell about my handwriting and frankly, it makes me a little nervous. Handwriting was never ever my strong point in the second grade, I was consistently given low marks for crossing a "t" which should have been an "i". Will they think I am a person of low moral standing because they can't tell whether that's an "n" or an "m"?

First off, I had to go to the newstand downstairs which doubles as a papeterie and ask Madame what she would recommend in the way of paper for a lettre de candidature. She handed me a pad of lovely cream colored unlined paper. I had to make sure it included one of those line guides, as there was just no way in this life time I would EVER be able to write in a straight line otherwise.

Next up I grabbed my best Waterman fountain pen, positioned the line guide underneath the first sheet of clean crisp paper, and tried to remember my letter writing techniques. First, tilt the paper slightly as this is cursive. Next, should I put my address directly at the top, or leave a few lines margin from the edge? Do I leave a line between the date and "Dear so and so" salutation line? Wait, it's all coming back, I do remember I am supposed to start the first line of the letter under the "r" of "Dear" in order to make a proper two finger indentation. (I suppose it's two fingers if you are seven). Now for the closing: do I indent "Sincerely" or leave it right justified or left justified, and if so, do I sign my name right underneath or do I justify that as well?

Out came the dusty copy of A Writer's Reference, 1994 edition. I knew there was a reason I tossed it into the box of books to be shipped across the ocean, that one day, even if the situation and circumstances were unbeknownst to me at the time, I would be glad to have it.

Four shaky pages and two balled up sheets in the trash can later, I now need to find some envelopes.

My wrist is sore.


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