A Cover Letter From The Bottom Of My Unemployed Heart


By Shelby Huff

Dear Future Employer (Unless you want shit to hit the fan);

My name is Shelby and I am on the job hunt. (“Aren’t we all,” you ask?) No, I am really on the job hunt. I’ve written to no less than 1,000 people and companies. I’ve scoured Craigslist, Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Idealistyou name it. I have yet to take a single day off in the past four months, for the simple reason that I cannot afford to continue living like this. I want so much more for myself. My hatred of being locked away in my childhood bedroom by night fuels my rather compulsive job search by day.

Now that you’re familiar with my current situation, I hope somewhere between the sadness you feel for a go-getting girl such as I and the inspiration my life story is about to put upon you, you find it in your perfectly capable-of-hiring-soul to employ me.

I’d like to tell you about what I’m like on a good day. I’ve been a lot of places and have what my family calls a lot of “life experience.” Since graduating college (anthropology and Spanishhence this article), I’ve climbed many a-mountain, been so close to wild bears I could smell them (just like a wet dog), lived and worked and thrived in a small (population: 90), remote (inaccessible by road, no phones whatsoever, internet circa 1998) town in the North Cascades, sang and played the mandolin in a band, worked on a schooner, bought a one way ticket to Argentina by myself after I graduated college and went from there (it turned out wonderfully), worked on some farms, hostels, and schools, practiced my Spanish (Yo hablo espanol muy bien), lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean the year after that, and am currently on the job hunt back home in the Northwest (and I plan on sticking around for a while). Please don’t ask me to define “a while.” Inspiration can strike at a moment’s notice. Aren’t you moved in the slightest? Fascinated, even? I did all of that and way more that is too inappropriate for water cooler talk in less than two years.

Aside from my love of culture, languages, nutrition, being in the great outdoors and so many other things that don’t pay more than a pretty penny, I’m a freelance artist and a writer on the side. But Lord knows that does not pay the bills (yet). I’m slowly working my way towards being a writer for National Geographic (I am serious here), a teacher of languages, an artist and starting my own magazine (among other thingsI’m very ambitious). I’d love to work for a smaller organization or company that finds my zest for life and character to be more important than my lack of a master’s degree. Though I don’t have “professional” experience and have never worked a “real” job, I do bring a lot of things to the table. For starters, stories. Who doesn’t love a good story? Especially about Argentine cowboys or bears? Other things that come to mind:

  • Organization: I can select a month’s worth of clothes, coordinating accessories and shoes in 10 minutes flat and fit it all into a single carry-on bag.
  • Flexibility: I am able to maneuver a suitcase, laptop bag and coat into a tiny airport bathroom stall in a hot second.
  • Can-do attitude: Go-getter in finding the least expensive airfares and hostel rates.

When I’m not working (or looking for work), I’m doing something outsidebiking, running, SUPing, kayaking, sailing, hiking, you name it. I’m friendly, happy, and hard-working (especially when I’m saving for a future adventure). I get along with just about anybody and find I work best in environments that allow me to express myself creatively, whether in a group or off on my lonesome. If the work is outside or at least near a window, all the better. If I’m not near a window, I sure hope my co-workers are so falling-off-my-chair funny that I forget I’m in an office environment. And I hope that if I am in an office, it at least wins awards for how environmentally conscious it is. Though, I would definitely be okay with working in an office if the aim was to save the rainforest, the indigenous people within them, bears, or wolves, no matter what job title I held.

I have experience in what feels like every aspect of the food and customer service industry and would love if someone outside of those grueling, malevolent realms read this. I put myself through college. I traveled solo and navigated through, thrived even, in foreign environments. It doesn’t mean I’m afraid of the real world. It means I am curious about the world around me, other ways of living, that I like a challenge. I threw myself into the unknown to see what makes me tick, what fills me with joy. And you know what? I found it. I like to think that says something. Not too many people actually do that. They just say they will one day. I didn’t follow the safest or easiest path, and I certainly didn’t do what everyone thought I ‘”should” be doing. But look at me, making shit happen for myself, blazing my own trail, determined to not be one of the sheep. I look forward to someone reading this one day and recognizing the fire that burns in me to do something great and thinking I, as a college graduate and as a person, was made for more than just scrubbing dishes.


Shelby Huff

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About Shelby

shelby huffI’m a 20-something who has spent the last two years ping-ponging myself around South America and the Caribbean. Somewhere between the 28-hour bus rides, experiencing life on a sailboat, being chased by a loose baboon in an Argentine zoo, and stargazing in remote corners of the world, I found that I could write.
I like the simple things in life: good friends, good conversations, good wine. I compulsively research van life and living off the grid. When I’m not on this wild-goose chase of becoming a writer, I can be found outside on a mountain, a paddleboard, a surfboard, or a bike.
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