How do I write this writing assignment for a job application?

Post date: 2020-09-25 14:01:21
Views: 8
I'm trying to finish an application for a job posting, it's basically a writing sample, but I have no idea a) what to say, b) how to format it, and c) it's TANKING my self-esteem (and I feel like shit, now). I'm hoping to get some advice on how I should go about doing this! (or Should I actually even bother applying for this position?)

(First off, I realize that I'm contradicting my previous Ask from 2 days ago asking about taking a break from employment!! I'm sorry!)

Upon further reflection, maybe THIS is why I need a break?

I found a job posting at a really great library, for a position REALLY similar to my current one, but... it sounded too good to be true, and it WAS too good to be true! Through my "network" I found out that there's an internal candidate for the position. I've been convinced by a few colleagues at library I work at, that it's still a good idea to apply for this position because a) it shows I want to work there, b) it puts my name out there, in general, and c) it's just good practice.

Okay, fine. So, I've pretty much finished my cover letter, updated my resume, and NOW I'm supposed to submit a ONE-PAGE assignment along with my resume answering a question that amounts to "tell us about a time you showed leadership related to X." Well, okay, I tried to write something... (I had experience supervising a virtual summer student this year, due to COVID-19.) I sent it off to my director who gave me pretty harsh (well, probably good feedback -- but I was in a bad mood, so it sent me into this death-spiral of shame).

What I wrote sounded too much like it was a STORY. Well, it IS a story? I don't understand how else to write that? I'm honestly, not a very succinct or good writer. How else am I supposed to translate what I did without it sounding like... a story? What else is it supposed to sound like? She told me to work logically (intro, background, proof of leadership, successes, outcomes, failures)... uhhh... I don't really think what I did counts as "leadership" when you look at it in those terms, but she says it does. She also said that I should use headers, make it easy to read... what? I'm honestly not trying to be obtuse here, but I DON'T GET IT!!!

How do I explain what I did... without telling a story? I mean, maybe I can't? And therefore, shouldn't apply for the job? No doubt learning that there is an internal candidate knocked the wind out of my sails, for sure. And how am I supposed to be succinct? One page seems like A LOT for this? I can't even imagine how to structure it, format it, etc. with headings? Am I supposed to have a heading then write two sentences? Then move on? I am truly, truly, at a loss. I don't even have anyone who'd be willing to read what I'd write for this. I used to get a teacher colleague at the school I worked out, but we haven't talked in MONTHS and with being a teacher and COVID-19 going on... yeah, that's not happening.

And now I'm caught in this classic low anxiety, shame-spiral, ("I'm not a leader," "Maybe I don't deserve to work in libraries?," "are any other fields hiring?" "Ugh, I'm not a ~*rockstar librarian~*~ so why bother? I'm such an idiot.,"etc.) I haven't felt this way in a LONG time and since I've been working with my therapist, my self esteem has been getting incrementally better... in my actual personal life. But with work? This is something I have to work on with her, but unfortunately I don't have an appointment until NEXT week, and this sample is due before then, and I just feel like a shitty stupid person who has no right to apply for jobs. The director told me to not "doubt" myself, but... I feel like a fucking idiot!! Like, in my opinion, I haven't been some AMAZING rockstar at my current job and that's all libraries want. I've been... fine, with very negative feedback, but have I received any feedback to think that I've done some sort of OUTSTANDING job? No. So I've been pretty "meh," overall.

Oh boy, there's a lot going on here. So, I guess my 2 questions are A) How do I write something like this properly? and B) Should I even BOTHER with this position? They're obviously going to hire the internal candidate, so I might as well not waste their time.
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