Hello, my name is Íñigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!
With this fantastic phrase from The Princess Bride, author William Goldman taught us a valuable lesson when it comes to offering our services as judges at an event: A good cover letter is as powerful as the mightiest sword.
Writing a cover letter to judge at an event can become an art, a pain in the neck, or the worst nightmare in your development as a judge. Everything depends on your hard work and your commitment to the task, as well as on the passion and enthusiasm you show. And even though there is no infallible recipe to brew the perfect potion, we can give you a series of guidelines to help you through it without too many obstacles. In this case, we will follow the recipe of Goldman’s brilliant swordsman.
“Hello, my name is Íñigo Montoya”.
Introduce yourself politely. This implies a strong and clear writing style. Make sure to pay attention to your spelling, and try to be clear in your presentation, limiting the information you give to what isn’t already included by JudgeApps.
Make the TO’s job easier, so he can guess what sort of person you are without being forced to read your memoirs (leave this job to your heirs). Try to be as brief, concise and energetic as possible, and don’t be shy when it comes to showing your enthusiasm, as it is a quality well valued by any Judge Manager worth their salt.
Finally, make sure you have answered all the questions asked in the post. Read through the event information thoroughly, and make sure you’ve not forgotten to mention anything. Imagine you show up with your sword, ready for battle, and find yourself in the midst of a mounted charge without a horse.
“Hello, my name is d’Artagnan. I have been a Level 2 Judge for 3 years, though I have been judging for more than 6, and playing magic since Morningtide. I believe I will be a valuable judge. I am a hard worker, I know the format and I have experience in similar tournaments. I speak English and French fluently which means I can communicate easily with most players”
“You killed my father”.
Explain your circumstances: The notches in your sword and in the pride of your teachers. Good refereeing is a virtue which, like courage in a soldier, is assumed in Magic judges. Even then, it will be useful for the TO to know of the battles you’ve engaged in and who has guided you. Draft a short list of your feats, writing about your tournament experience, your mentors and the achievements that bring you the most pride.
Even if a good swordsman doesn’t need a cover letter, it’s always good to include the name of a mentor or co-worker. That way the TO will know who to speak to if they want to learn more about your previous battles.
Try to avoid boasting, or exaggerating your achievements, behaviour more fit for the pub than in the Judge Program, and find the most simple way to show how your experience (or your desire to give your all) can help in the event in question.
Don’t forget that in the end, your actions must live up to your words, and often, building yourself up can be disastrous in an event. Be humble and helpful. The TO will thank you for it.
“The main events I have worked in include the following:
– 6 GPs in Europe, one of them in Versailles
– 2 PTQ (Paris and Toulousse 2018)
– 2 Nationals
– Many PPTQ and Opens at my LGS in Gascogne.
In them I have not only worked as a FJ, but also as TL, where I learnt team management as well as how to communicate with my HJ. I believe the key to a good event is to work together and to maintain flowing communication. I have judged in events with veteran judges such as Alexandre Dumas, Diego de la Vega aka Zorro and Cyrano de Bergerac, from whom I have learnt procedures and good practices”
“Prepare to die”.
State your aims: Make applications that make sense given your profile or explain clearly if your intention is to try tasks that you’ve never tried before and your reasons for wanting to try them. Remember: tournaments are not only for judging, but also for learning. Set yourself goals and tell the organiser about them. There is no better swordsman than one that wants to continue improving.
Last, but not least, let the organiser know if you have any limitations or personal requests. Tournaments are events to work in, but also to enjoy, and the organisers will give you a hand wherever they can, as long as you’ve let them know in advance.
“My goal in this tournament, apart from continuing to learn and to grow as a judge, is to improve my speed in doing Deck Checks. Even though I know the format, I believe this is a task in which I’m not as fast or as efficient as I want to be, which is why being part of this team would help me improve.
In terms of accommodation, I would be attending with my wife, Constance Bonacieux, so I would like to share a room with her, assuming any additional costs this may entail”.
Our swordsman, Íñigo Montoya, took 20 years to achieve his goal. And while we’re convinced that it will take you a lot less, if at first you don’t succeed, don’t lose hope, and keep trying. Choosing a judge team is difficult, and you must accept the decision with sportsmanship and good cheer. This will say a lot of very good things about you.
To conclude, we can confirm that a good cover letter does not guarantee you will be selected for an event, but it will always make an excellent impression in the judge community for future events. The imprint on the (virtual) wax sealing your letter should be proof of your elegance, honesty and enthusiasm. Empathise with the TOs and value their time and labour.
And, most importantly, don’t forget another good phrase from The Princess Bride which applies perfectly to our world:
“We are men of action. Lies do not become us.”
Marina Castaño Garrido (Author)
Mónica Gonzalez (Proof-reader)
Raquel Monleón Férnandez (Proof-reader)
Miquel Àngel Moya (Editor)
Santiago Assim Tirmezi Acuña (Translator)