I suck at Scrabble and I need Words to express Things. Help?
January 3, 2014 6:28 AM   Subscribe

I would like to include in my cover letter the sentiment that the years I took off from work (for reasons I touch on) make me hungry for any job I take on. I would really like a job that gave me things to think about, something to focus on and obsess over. How can I put this that doesn't use the word "hungry" and makes me sound more like a dedicated worker and less like a slightly crazed person? My thesaurus's suggestion of "could eat a horse" is not helping.
posted by FiveSecondRule to Work & Money (11 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
posted by bunderful at 6:31 AM on January 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd use eager, or enthusiastic and, if neither were a good fit I'd do a synonym search using those as my new starting point.
posted by redindiaink at 6:38 AM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

posted by Seboshin at 6:44 AM on January 3, 2014

Some more synonym triggers:


Just a thought: Would it be easier to find the right word(s) if you shift the general sentiment from "I want a job that lets me focus" to "Here's some proof that I am a good candidate for a job that requires focus"?
posted by gnomeloaf at 6:44 AM on January 3, 2014

'I'm extremely keen to tackle challenging tasks that I can really sink my teeth into?'

(Okay, a bit much all in one sentence :D - but there are some ideas for you.)
posted by Salamander at 6:58 AM on January 3, 2014

Awesome, thanks all.

Gnome, I like that idea, but for this part, I want to slide in a mention of why I took time off work, and there's nothing there to demonstrate anything. The rest of my cover is "[Statement.] [Example.]," so I think it's okay.

Salamander, thanks for the example. That and Redin's/bunder's "eager" was my starting off point for what I ended up with: "Before my current position, I paused my career for [reason], making me now extremely eager to exercise my skill-set and acumen."

posted by FiveSecondRule at 7:22 AM on January 3, 2014

Is there anything at all that you did during the years you were not working that's relevant to what you're interested in doing? Taking years off work these days = falling years behind in relevant technologies. Try to avoid that impression. If you can say - "Before my current position, I paused my career for [reason] spent time pursuing [related avocation X], which allowed me to stay on top of innovations in [shared field] while achieving personal goals." - then you cover the gap while assuring them you're on top of your game. It's less about being hungry (everyone is hungry these days) and more about your mad skills.
posted by headnsouth at 7:40 AM on January 3, 2014 [6 favorites]

i don't like many of the above suggestions "eager/enthusiastic/motivated/yearn" because they sound a little too close to "desperate". i would speak more from a position of capability and power...

"i miss the SATISFACTION of ACHIEVING GOALS by working with other people to OVERCOME DIFFICULT CHALLENGES. i miss the VALIDATION of my STELLAR PERFORMANCE that comes from promotions, raises and standing ovations at staff meetings (ok, that might be a little too much)..." the point is, you're a star player who took some time off, but you're back, tanned, fit and rested, and ready to take the field again at an all-pro level.
posted by bruce at 8:19 AM on January 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

"I would relish the opportunity to [whatever]."
posted by jgirl at 8:23 AM on January 3, 2014

At the risk of sounding harsh, please avoid the "X happened, making me Y." I do recruiting/candidate screening for my small firm, and this totally puts me off. I hear it from 20 year old intern candidates all the way to 50 year old paralegal candidates, and it doesn't sound good coming from any of them. The whole "something made me this" rubs me as lazy writing/thinking. I might be a special snowflake in this regard.

If I got your example in a cover letter, I would wonder how exactly your taking time off from your career makes you an extremely eager person--and then come up with, "oh, this person is desperate for any job. Are we a stop-gap until s/he finds something better?" It tells me nothing, except that you want a job and that you want to use your skill-set and acumen. It does not tell me what experience or results you're going to bring to the company. To that end, do whatever you can to avoid describing how a job is going to help you do things. Frame your skills as to how they're going to help the company do things. Example: "Before I paused my career, my skill-set in A and B and acumen in C led to Accomplishment D for Company Y. Likewise, these skills and practical work experience would be an valuable asset and benefit to your company. [Insert something here from your research about the company - their sales or goals - and drive it home.]" End with "I would very much appreciate the opportunity to further discuss how my qualifications and experience can benefit Company Z. Thank you" rather than "I am extremely eager to work for Company Z and would relish the opportunity to meet with you." (That goes without saying, does it not?)

I encourage you to avoid phrases like "extremely eager" and "relish the opportunity" (sorry!). So many cover letters sound canned and cut-and-paste, because they use this exact language. They only help you blend in. Don't blend in. Show your eagerness and passion at the interview.
posted by coast99 at 9:33 AM on January 3, 2014 [10 favorites]

During 2012 and 2013, I traveled in AskMeFistan. It was an excellent experience, strengthening my ability to assess risk, manage the unexpected, and blah blah. My photos are on the web at www.mysafeforworkphotoblog.com. I'm energized and ready to tackle widget inspection at MegaGiantBigCorp.
posted by theora55 at 10:21 PM on January 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

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