Saturday, September 4, 2010


Why do I want to work at Blackwells? Why wouldn't I want to work there would be a better question. I love books, duh. I have an English degree that is just itching to be utilized and fearing that day may never come. If I could do anything in the world it would be to travel and read and write all day, don't you think that qualifies me to work at the famous Blackwells bookstore?

If that hasn't convinced you of my overwhelming credentials, I have a few other reasons. First of all, I came all the way from the USA to Oxford to study Creative Writing up the road at Brookes. So, needless to say, I'm going to need that discount on books that I assume employees get. My book list is not going to buy its self people, and as much as I love libraries, I like owning books more.

Sine I'll be taking writing classes this year I'll also be reading. Constantly. Probably to the point that my eyes will start to bleed and my brain will beg for a mindless soap opera or even (heaven forbid) a Twilight movie to stop my mind from thinking about symbolism, stream of consciousness and imagery. What is something people look for in a bookseller? Someone who reads a lot. Someone who can tell you what they are reading and tell you what they should read. I am that person!

Since I already have the aforementioned English degree (and look! I can use big words too sometimes!) , I can already recommend things your average bum on the street probably has not read. One of the great things about being an English major is that you are forced to read things you don't always like, but then later you tell people you've read them which will make you look smarter. I can tell you that The Heart of Darkness is good the third time you are forced to read it, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man is never good, but Dubliners is (I won't even start about Ulysses), Confederacy of Dunces will make you mad but you'll be glad you stuck it through and To Kill a Mockingbird is gold every time. EVERY time. I can tell you that Peter Pan is a tragedy as well as a fantastic children's story, that Shakespeare is a pretty funny dude and that the book Memoirs of Geisha is so so so so so so so so so much better than the movie. Eat, Pray Love is overrated, The Glass Castle is fantastic and In Cold Blood will blow you away.

I've also read Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and His Dark Materials trilogy. Can't think of why, but I feel like that's also important for some reason.

What else? Ah right, I freaken LOVE Young Adult Literature. It's what I like writing the most and something I've got lots of opinions about it. I would be totally ecstatic if you stuck me back at the register in the YA section. I have read Harry Potter (MANY times) and will fight to the death defending it. Ok so that's not necessarily a reason you should give me the job, but those books are like national treasures or something right? Anyway, I can recommend lots of what I feel kids should and should not read (cough cough TWILIGHT cough), and with good reasons.

I feel to work in a bookstore, especially one as huge and well known as Blackwells, you need to have a certain level of nerdy-ness about you as well. How's this for nerdy-ness; I was the president of my college's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honor Society. Bam, I win. I organized book drives, readings, attended conventions, all sorts of nerdy book lover types of things. And I KNOW Blackwells puts on events like this, I've even been to one. That sort of thing really gets me excited, so use me. Use my excitement. I want you to.

Oh here is something worth mentioning; I hate the Kindle and all other electronic book sorts of things. I think that's important, my hatred, because if the kindle takes over the world we will not only have a real Terminator like problem on our hands, but you will all also be out of a job. ALL OF YOU. Some guy back home last month tried to convince me to buy Borders's version of the Kindel. My cousin and I were in the bookstore and we had been talking about them all day, so we stopped and humored the guy who was telling us all about the amazing things it did. He said to me, 'I bought one of these a few months ago and haven't bought a real book since!' I said, 'well, I love books,' and lamely walked away. What I should have said was 'listen buddy, if everyone felt the same way you did, and never bought actual books, YOU WOULD HAVE NO JOB. You work in a bookstore! Look around! Why do you work here at all if all you want to do is read off a little electronic screen and probably play X-box all day.' I don't know that he plays video games, he just had that look.

Putting my super judgmental opinions aside, think of what a book is. Think of all the work that goes into those pages. I'm not only talking about the work the author puts into the story, agonizing over every sentence and word choice, shutting themselves off from the rest of the world until it's just right or overdosing on coffee shop food and frapa-double-shot-heart-attack-in-a-cup-with-whiped-cream-on-top-ccinos, closing out the world with their ipod ear buds stuck so far into their ears that they are completely IN the story they are writing. Sure, that's important, but there are also the publishers. Think of all the typesetting, the cover design artists and hours spent editing, re-editing, and tearing their hair out (if they have any left) correcting stupid spelling mistakes, comma splices and run-on sentences much like the one that consumes half of his paragraph.

Nothing beats the feel of a book in your hands, the smell of the pages, the feel of the biding. Try curling up in an overstuffed chair on a rainy day with a kindle and let me know how that feels.

Where was I? Oh right, telling you why you should hire me at Blackwells. Well, beyond the fact that I think I have made quite clear that I love books, there is also the customer service aspect of the job. Beyond being able to recommend a good read, and despite the snootiness of this cover letter, I am pretty friendly. I'm great at pretending to care about what people are telling me, I've had lots of practice. I worked at a German restaurant for the past year and while I did genuinely care about what a handful of the regulars were telling me, most of the time I was just doing the whole smile and nod bit. However, at Blackwells, I'd wager that I'll probably care about what most people are talking to me about if its book related. Or at least have an opinion about what they are telling me beyond 'well I don't like sauerkraut anyway, so I don't know why you are getting so upset about the fact that we don't have any.' Also, after working at said German restaurant for a year, I'm pretty good at figuring out accents. In such a touristy place like Oxford, I think this is probably a good skill to have.

Lastly, I just plain need a job, like yesterday. I can only work 20 hours a week anyway because I'm here on a student visa, so if you think I'm annoying or boring you will only have to put up with me a few days a week. I swear I'm a nice person, honest. I don't mind manual labor or cleaning and I'm stellar at leaving personal problems at home. If I'm upset about something (and why would I ever be upset? I'm in freaken Oxford!), you will never know. So hire me, please. You won't regret it.

Pleadingly and sincerely yours,

Maria Goodson

Ok, so I probably won't really send that in as my cover letter to Blackwells. It's far too long. Besides that I think it's pretty good. Would you hire me? I'd hire me.



Tanner said...

If I ever own a bookstore, I'll have you run the thing. And come up with some excuse to send you places sometimes.

foo said...

You never know. They might hire you on the spot with this letter. ;)

major7th said...

HA, I wish. I'm too chicken to try it though. I already wrote another lame professional one. I'm dropping it off today! Wish me luck!

DeeRoo said...

Does your resume have your blog listed?:)

Kelsey Austin Threatte said...

please get that job so I can come and live in the shark house (above blog) and we can be very happy. I won't even make you do heroine so we can take it off the list.

Charalampos Koundourakis said...

I just wrote a cover letter for Blackwells and seeking validation from the internet I stumbled upon your post.

I am so ashamed of my cover letter now...
Drab, prroffesssional garbage! Aiieee...

Anyway this post is awesome and as a cover letter it deserved a medal let alone a job.

Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Did you end up getting the job?

Anonymous said...

you are nothing more than a stupid pussy