David has come up with a new way to analyze job applications. He just counts the number of times someone uses “I” and “you” (or “Berkshire”) in her or his cover letter. We got a letter Saturday that said “I” 24 times and “you” 4 times.
I think we should count how many times people mention their unpublished or unperformed writing. Here’s a typical line: “I’m writing a novel and finishing up a book review.” Fine, but not really relevant, and it surprises me that people don’t get that. I think they’re hoping to tempt us. Surely, though, it’s obvious that a publisher of encyclopedias is unlikely to decide to throw all its resources into publishing the manuscript of a prospective managing editor?
Of course I think back to some applications I sent off in years past, knowing that they would embarrass me now. Same thing with query letters. I’m now going to look at all the letters I write with a fresh eye: how much “you” and how much “I”?