When We Write Letters Part V: After You Get Your Foot in the Door

A man walks around the center of a town.

The county courthouse sits at the center. The statue of a war hero is in front.

He lives in a warm place most of the year. Sunshine and 61 degree weather becomes old to him.

He waits for something new to come along because he needs it before he loses his home.

But, the jobs have left the factories in this town where he walks. Since clothes are bought overseas, no one needs materials from an American factory anymore. The man saw the last days of the mills just as a cowboy was a part of the last exploration of a cattle drive not interrupted by land claims.

What does the man need?

He needs it to snow one day after the temperature spiked to 61 degrees in February. Warm weather in a South Carolina winter does not surprise him, but one foot on the ground sure would.


Guess what?

It will snow.


The time will come when the weather changes and when a job opportunity sits on the table.

What do you do when you walk through the door?

As I watched in a job video Friday with a class, you think of it as a meeting. If you constantly build pressure in your mind to think: This is it. I must do well, you will drive yourself nuts. You know you’re right for the job.


What are your strengths in your last jobs? Even if you were fired or laid off, you know there is something good about you.

You’re not going to think the same way you once did. You’re going to remember why you were ever employed in the first place. That is because someone saw something in you.

If you have not had a job in a year or more – many haven’t – do not worry. Consider projects you’ve done, such as building a roof on top of a market or volunteer work. You might have taken a career class at a nearby college. Use what you learned.

Do not make a list of your personality traits. This is a tip I’ve heard and read everywhere. You want to say, “I am experienced and loyal,” but it will follow the same script someone else said before.

As you discuss your work experience, remember your strengths. Get a feel for the employer. Trust me this is important, and you will learn throughout the process.


My father’s flower bush has been blooming because of the warm weather.


There was a job I wanted last spring as a copywriter. A new company grew out of the owners’ house. When I went, I wore a dress pants and a blazer. The employer wore khakis and a tank top. She informed me she sent the dogs away because she realized it was inappropriate to have them during an interview.

Everything went smooth until the moment I mentioned my son. I do not remember how it came up, but I know it was in passing. If you are a mother, the toughest thing to remember is do not mention the fact you have children.

“None of us here have children so that would be different,” she said.


The one tree that still has leaves.

She also said I’d hear back one week after I sent in my samples. I waited eagerly and I heard nothing after I sent in my samples. She said, “The position has been filled, but we’ll keep your resume on file for future reference.”

That’s a company’s way –most of the time – of saying, “We don’t want you.”

While I will never know if my writing was to the company’s taste, I knew the difference in the interview before the topic of my son and after.

Take your time when you speak. Do not rush through what you want to say.

Inhale, exhale …


The snow is falling.

It is beautiful.

You have hope.

Words and Photos by Rebecca T. Dickinson

Two more When We Write Letters Left. Come back next week for Grandma’s Letters.

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4 thoughts on “When We Write Letters Part V: After You Get Your Foot in the Door

  1. 247southernvoice February 18, 2013 at 12:14 AM Reply

    I used that same technique you advocated in an in-person talk with a manager at a local parts house, followed up with a phone call, and am going in Tuesday to finalize some paperwork for a part-time position. This approach works! Thanks again for posting these articles.

    Incidentally, it snowed here, too. ;)

    • rtd14 February 18, 2013 at 7:33 AM Reply

      Congrats Southernvoice! i am very happy for you and I mean it. I know what a struggle it is. In the post prior to this I wrote about my husband’s struggle after he lost his job. It has been an important issue of mine on which to write, dealing with unemployment. I went for an interview last July and was offered a part-time job that can turn into a full-time position one day. Be proud of yourself! I know you are! Keep plugging away! You’re not in this economy alone! :)

      The snow was pretty, wasn’t it?

  2. Elliot February 18, 2013 at 9:42 PM Reply

    I hate the whole job search and interview process. Thankfully in my current work I can speak from a position of experience so the interview is easier. Whilst I don’t think the child was a problem for me (it’s a bit sh*ty that you could tell it affected your interview), I did need to present my time away from work for a while in a more thoughtful way.

    • rtd14 February 22, 2013 at 12:41 PM Reply

      I understand completely. When I was a journalist, I saw what the economy did to people. I saw a lot of fight in them despite the hardships. So many kept going out for interviews. The interview is tough for some, and easier for others who are fantastic with people. Thanks, Elliot! ~ Becca

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