Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Astronaut application

So, as you may or may not be aware, Canada is hiring two astronauts this year. My friends and I joked that the only way the government would agree to paying the $83, 300 - $162, 700 salary would be by holding a reality show competition - Canada's Next Astronaut, perhaps.

But it's less funny now, seeing as how I applied for the job and have now made it to the second round of selection (all told, not exactly a remarkable feat). Which begs the question - what's in the job application for "astronaut?" Well, I'm here to tell you that it's mostly just normal stuff, like Social Insurance Numbers, marital status, and your CV. Oh, and a cover letter. Stupid @$%&ing cover letter that happens the best (and really only) opportunity I have to make myself appear to be a unique candidate and really market myself.

The cover letter they want you to write is 11, 000 characters long, equivalent to around 1500 words, or about 2 pages. When I write a cover letter, it is generally 4-5 paragraphs and NEVER exceeds a page. Hence, "cover" letter. So I'm a bit of a loss, and here I sit staring at 5, 000 characters and I feel like the Canadian Space Agency will already know my entire life's story.

Which leads me to ask all of my loyal readers - both of you - for advice. What do you put in a cover letter to sell yourself as an astronaut? Do I tell them I'm a big science fiction buff? That I have a science blog? My top scores for StarCraft and/or StarFox? That I don't have strong menu preferences and am generally easy to get along with? That I've always wanted to do it in zero-gravity? Should I mention my acerbic wit and oh-so-funny sarcastic attitude?

Honestly, suggestions are welcome. Really. I think I have the obvious stuff down, but I'm going to need to come up with something both interesting and marketable to nail one of the 40 interviews they're giving for the over 5, 000 applicants...


jordin said...

It has been so long since i have written a cover letter, i dont even know where to begin!!! So, other than essay writing, which i bet you are proficient at by now, i am of no help.

But i would enjoy reading it!!! You should post it!

michelle said...

I think the bit about doing it in zero gravity will get you the job.