To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to apply for a position as a Career Counselor at your law school. If hired, I would be a solid contributor to your office, due to my legal and accounting background.
Before following my lifelong dream of becoming an attorney, I worked as a certified public accountant (CPA) at a Big Eight firm, which thankfully, hired me back in my original position a year after graduating from law school.
The valuable lessons that I have gained as an accountant would be a huge asset at your office, as they could be used to better reflect strong employment prospects that prospective law students can expect upon graduation. While most people think that statistics are facts, my professional life in the Big Eight showed me that they are merely representations of facts. This misconception is helpful, as few people know to look for the methods used to represent facts in other, factual, ways. My experience on this front would be very useful as your school looks to move up in the U.S. News rankings.
To prove my value to your office, here are four-and-a-half ways to represent your employment statistics in a better light:
First, you can increase the employment percentage of your recently graduated class simply by using a different label. Saying “employed nine months after graduation” requires you to only count those who have a job at the nine-month mark as employed. Instead, say “employed within nine months of graduation.” This would include anyone with a temporary job nine months before or after their day of graduation as “employed.” With a well-crafted survey or questionnaire and a broad view of “employment,” you can represent anyone who has made any money at all doing anything since graduating as being “employed within nine months of graduation.”
Second, if you provide a breakdown of the fields that your graduates work in, carefully selecting the possibilities is crucial to representing the facts in a favorable light.
Picking a reputable-sounding catch-all category — like “business” — for the failures in your recently graduated classes is important. Because “business” means anything that makes a profit, it is an impossibly wide category that can be used to include any one of your former students, no matter how low they have fallen – grocery store cashiers or even panhandlers can be genuinely put in the “business” category.
Building off of this point, where a recent graduate has multiple jobs, use the more legal-sounding one for their job field, regardless of how many hours they work at each position. Even if someone works forty hours a week as a house painter1 if they volunteer at legal aid on Saturday mornings, they could be counted in the “public interest” category. Even further, using the “employed within nine months” language, rather than “employed nine months after graduation,” you could count this person in “public interest” even if they only volunteered at their local legal aid for one single solitary Saturday.
Third, with regards to salary, do your due diligence online first, by looking at the recent graduate’s LinkedIn or other social media pages. If it becomes clear that the graduate will have a low salary, do not ask them for it, and immediately list them under your “salary not reported” numbers so they don’t decrease your other graduates’ numbers. Labeling these graduates as having a “salary not reported” creates the inference in lay readers that they were asked about their salary, but the phrase’s plain language does not explicitly state that they were.
Not asking graduates who are likely low earners about their salary would increase the number of those who do not report a salary, but this also can be represented in a positive way.
When computing the median salary of your recent graduates, strategically use the group whose salary is not reported by moving them to the top of the pay scale. For example, say you had 100 people in your recently graduated class. Using my handy guide, it is less impossible to imagine that they all are “employed.” For simplicity’s sake, let us imagine that their true salary is also 1 to 100.
Despite insisting otherwise, you are aware of the statistically-proven fact that graduates with a lower salary are more likely to not report what they make than those with a high salary. Therefore, let us imagine that the following 45 graduates (in blue) do not report their salary.
The median salary is the one in the middle, if you lined all of them up. Note that the true median salary of the graduates is 50.
However, the median salary of the graduates that are reporting their salary is, in this case, 59.
While this is a more favorable representation of the facts, you can do significantly better than that, by simply moving all of those who are not reporting their salaries to the top of the pay scale, and then counting them towards the median there.
Labeling this statistical representation as your school’s “median graduate’s salary” would not be misleading, as it expressly states that all of your graduates are included in the determination of the median salary.
These statistical methods are only a few of the many that I have learned as a corporate accountant. As I am sure you are aware, the employment statistics of your recently graduated class is a huge factor in the highly-influential U.S. News rankings. Using these and other methods, you could elevate your ranking several positions simply by hiring me as a Career Counselor at your law school.
Enclosed is my resume, as well as two letters of recommendation. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
[Featured image via Shutterstock]
a job that would still fall under the “business” category, of course ↩