wood burning stoves 2.0*
The moose likes Jobs Discussion and the fly likes Alternative application letter Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


Win a copy of Soft Skills this week in the Jobs Discussion forum!
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Careers » Jobs Discussion
Bookmark "Alternative application letter" Watch "Alternative application letter" New topic
Author

Alternative application letter

Rupert Brown
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 17
You might enjoy this - I recently applied for a job with a company called ThoughtWorks in Australia. I don't need a job just yet (you never know these days), but they were advertising, so I stuck an application in. But because I'm not desperate I just thought I'd test them out - see if they had any sense of humour. So I put in a sensible cover letter, and then the one below. The outcome - rejected straight away. An e-mail came back in two days. So either my CV just isn't what they wanted at all, or they really didn't appreciate the letter.

But give me some feedback - is the following lame or humorous?



I am a Java tragic. I need to be with my own people.

I was working on a JTree recently. I wanted custom tree icons that could change colour in response to user preferences. I created BufferedImages and drew the icons in the chosen colour, then added them to the tree. There was no real reason to do this – it just felt like the right thing to do and makes the interface more appealing.

Male friends say things to me like “Let’s go off to the High Country this weekend, shoot some deer!” I say “Next weekend – I’m extending a JPanel tomorrow, and applying GridBagLayout.” They look at me then change the subject.

A few years ago I wrote a book on three things I believe to be very important – software, quality and lunch. I’m sure that one day this book will get published, even though it never will be. It’s 140,000 words long. I wrote it anyway.

I have never used a GUI builder – I live on the Java2D api. I know what the JavaRanch is. I put myself through and passed the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam, but that wasn’t enough. I’m now doing the developer’s exam. I write letters to my mother using NetBeans, then compile them. I have two operating systems at home. I bought my daughters soft Duke toys. I don’t have a problem with the idea of controlling 500 tonnes of highly explosive rocket fuel using software. I wrote my first program using punched cards. I’ve moved on from aircraft avionics – I’m currently working on the systems display for a “faster than light” ship. I believe the best tools to use for GUI design are coloured pencils, my cat is called Orlando javac jax, and the only thing better than a new jdk is a bottle of Main Ridge Pinot Meunier.

I am a Java tragic. I need to be with my own people.
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61756
    
  67

My opinion: lame. And potentially damaging. I'm not sure what the tech community is like down your way, but here in Austin, it's very close-knit and pulling a stunt like this could very well nix your chances of landing a job anywhere.

I'm all for humor in the work-place, but let it wait until after you've landed the job.


[Asking smart questions] [Bear's FrontMan] [About Bear] [Books by Bear]
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 31054
    
162

Lame. If I got that I wouldn't even finish it. I'd wonder what the person was thinking and move on.


[Blog] [JavaRanch FAQ] [How To Ask Questions The Smart Way] [Book Promos]
Blogging on Certs: SCEA Part 1, Part 2 & 3, Core Spring 3, OCAJP, OCPJP beta, TOGAF part 1 and part 2
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 19060
    
  40

Bear Bibeault wrote:My opinion: lame. And potentially damaging. I'm not sure what the tech community is like down your way, but here in Austin, it's very close-knit and pulling a stunt like this could very well nix your chances of landing a job anywhere.


Agreed. It is an incredibly small IT world out there. I have encountered many people over the years whom I know through different unrelated contacts. And this is in a city of 8 million people -- 13 million if you include the surrounding area.

It's not a good idea to do something that can come back to bite you.

Henry


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Oh dear ! I wouldnt even dream of sending that to Thoughtworks. Always try to avoid funny stuff in the resume / cover letter. It might irritate people since they are tasked with going through several thousands of resumes a day. Why give them a reason to reject you.

A stunt like this might also damage your future prospects with the company.


SCJP 6 articles - SCJP 5/6 mock exams - More SCJP Mocks
Rupert Brown
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 29, 2009
Posts: 17
Thanks for the feedback. Generally you guys think that was a bad idea which is interesting. In my defence, the advert does contain the words "more of a game than a job" so they shouldn't be too surprised if people get playful. I'll make two observations:

This approach can be a valid strategy, albeit a high risk one. In an ocean of corporate blandness, sometimes it can be a way of differentiating yourself from the crowd - I have had good outcomes in the past. It's high risk though because you can never know who will be the first person to see it and how they will react.

It is a good object lesson in how companies can say one thing and mean something completely different. My experience is that most companies who advertise for "innovators, free thinkers, self-starters, risk takers" run a mile when confronted by this kind of thing - somebody actually taking a real risk. Now that is very understandable - businesses need corporate mechanics, and the last time a bunch of guys got creative with the financial investments market (for example) they very nearly brought down the western world. And of course the one thing that is not in short supply during a global financial crisis is fear - of losing a job and then not being able to get another.

So I think it all boils down to personal goals and risk tolerance.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 19060
    
  40

This approach can be a valid strategy, albeit a high risk one. In an ocean of corporate blandness, sometimes it can be a way of differentiating yourself from the crowd - I have had good outcomes in the past. It's high risk though because you can never know who will be the first person to see it and how they will react.


You were talking about explosives and FTL travel. How the heck can this be a valid strategy? At best, you came across as a somewhat funny (maybe even fun) person, who isn't serious about applying for the role. At worst, you came across as someone you cross the street on, if you happen to see first.


It is a good object lesson in how companies can say one thing and mean something completely different. My experience is that most companies who advertise for "innovators, free thinkers, self-starters, risk takers" run a mile when confronted by this kind of thing - somebody actually taking a real risk.


Risk takers doesn't mean someone who doesn't take a task seriously. After all, the goal is to find someone for a job -- if you can't take applying for it seriously, how the heck are you going to do it seriously?

Henry
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 31054
    
162

Rupert Brown wrote:T My experience is that most companies who advertise for "innovators, free thinkers, self-starters, risk takers" run a mile when confronted by this kind of thing - somebody actually taking a real risk.


They are limits to risk in a company. Generally companies want you to understand what needs to be done and the goals before suggesting alternative approaches. Here the goal is to get a job. Or at least it is from the company's point of view. How does the company know you understand that?
Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 31054
    
162

Henry Wong wrote:FTL travel.

FTL = faster than light?
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 19060
    
  40

Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
Henry Wong wrote:FTL travel.

FTL = faster than light?


Can you tell that I am a fan of Battlestar Galactica?

Henry
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

I do not think it would come across as appealing Rupert. You might have written the cover letter thinking that a manager / developer would read it. What if a HR person reads it ? Will they understand anything ? They might misunderstand your intentions and think you are joking around.

Gabriel Claramunt
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 26, 2007
Posts: 375

Clearly depends on the type of organization you're looking for. ThoughtWorks seems to be a "developer centric" consultancy, so I don't think an humorous approach is really that bad. What I would change is focus the letter: try to show what you think you'll bring to the table if they hire you, how you'll help to create better software for their customers. I would prefer to hire a "software passionate" than a "java tragic"
Of course, is a risky proposition and there's a fine line but it can give you an advantage over countless of "Dear Sir/Madam..."


Gabriel
Software Surgeon
mrngo rickets
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 1
Rupert Brown wrote:You might enjoy this - I recently applied for a job with a company called ThoughtWorks in Australia. I don't need a job just yet (you never know these days), but they were advertising, so I stuck an application in. But because I'm not desperate I just thought I'd test them out - see if they had any sense of humour. So I put in a sensible cover letter, and then the one below. The outcome - rejected straight away. An e-mail came back in two days. So either my CV just isn't what they wanted at all, or they really didn't appreciate the letter.

But give me some feedback - is the following lame or humorous?



I am a Java tragic. I need to be with my own people.

I was working on a JTree recently. I wanted custom tree icons that could change colour in response to user preferences. I created BufferedImages and drew the icons in the chosen colour, then added them to the tree. There was no real reason to do this – it just felt like the right thing to do and makes the interface more appealing.

Male friends say things to me like “Let’s go off to the High Country this weekend, shoot some deer!” I say “Next weekend – I’m extending a JPanel tomorrow, and applying GridBagLayout.” They look at me then change the subject.

A few years ago I wrote a book on three things I believe to be very important – software, quality and lunch. I’m sure that one day this book will get published, even though it never will be. It’s 140,000 words long. I wrote it anyway.

I have never used a GUI builder – I live on the Java2D api. I know what the JavaRanch is. I put myself through and passed the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam, but that wasn’t enough. I’m now doing the developer’s exam. I write letters to my mother using NetBeans, then compile them. I have two operating systems at home. I bought my daughters soft Duke toys. I don’t have a problem with the idea of controlling 500 tonnes of highly explosive rocket fuel using software. I wrote my first program using punched cards. I’ve moved on from aircraft avionics – I’m currently working on the systems display for a “faster than light” ship. I believe the best tools to use for GUI design are coloured pencils, my cat is called Orlando javac jax, and the only thing better than a new jdk is a bottle of Main Ridge Pinot Meunier.

I am a Java tragic. I need to be with my own people.


Hi,

Thanks very much for this comment. It help me to think about my ideals.

Thanks again and pleases keep posting.

Sumit Bisht
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 02, 2008
Posts: 329

"In an ocean of corporate blandness, sometimes it can be a way of differentiating yourself from the crowd"
IMO, that might work better for a creative position like a designer or marketeer.
But the idea is worth a try if the company/domain is the one that you are not interested in.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Alternative application letter