Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some Unwanted Advice for Your Wednesday

Some Unwanted Advice for Your Wednesday 
or a few well-meaning but under-qualified tips on submitting for a job

So, the other day I tweeted a snarky tweet. I was complaining about job applicants, and I was called out on it by someone looking for a job. She pointed out that instead of snarking, if I had helpful advice to dispense, I should dispense it.

But I wasn't really sure I was qualified, so I ran this by a friend of mine, who has started up 5 successful businesses and hired and fired dozens of people throughout her career. And she gave me a lot of great insight, which I've included. So, without further ado, here it is:

A) Never send an email with an empty body. Even if you're attaching a cover letter, there should be a little hello, here I am, here's my resume, thank you, sincerely etc.
          i) have an easy to understand subject line in the email.

B) No typos. Not ever. Not in the email, not in the resume, not anywhere. Get at least one other set of eyes to look at your resume before you send it out. And make sure the formatting on your resume is consistent and easy to read. Your experience doesn't mean anything if people don't see it pop off the page.

C) Always, always, send your resume as an attachment, not in the body of the email. If you have any reason to believe that your file will be difficult to open, list it in the body with about 3 lines of space below your opening note.

D)  Detail the attachments in your opening email. For example, if you've attached a cover letter and a resume, say so. If you've attached a resume and listed it as well, say so.  And make sure and urge them to let you know if they have any trouble with the attachments. 

E) Hold off on questions until they've replied in the affirmative. That's the time to talk about pay, hours, etc. not in your initial application email. This may sound petty, but if that information wasn't in the job description, there's probably a reason for it.

F) Speaking of the job description, make sure you read it very carefully. Someone spent a lot of time putting it together, so take time to read it.

G) Have all of your contact info prominently displayed at the top of your resume, cover
letter and at the bottom of your email. This is so important. Bottom of the email, top of the resume and top of the cover letter, preferably in an attractive and easy to read letterhead.

I) Consider getting a website to put up your bio, resume and any examples of your work. This is especially important for artists, freelance employees and anyone with relevant video, photos or files. If you don't want to buy a domain name, start a Wordpress blog and use that as a website. There are a lot of templates that look more like websites than blogs and it's easy to manage.  Include your website along with your contact info on your resume, email etc.

So, that's what I have. What are your surefire tips?


  1. Can you do a post on first interviews? Like what not to do? Like showing up late and without a copy of your resume... Why is it okay to not have a copy of your resume? Is that okay now?
    I agree with all that you have said. And also people have so many different resume's now... Make sure you send the right one. And make sure that you cover letter matches you resume. And for the love of god, be on time.
    My advice for job applicants is to have a clear vision of what you wish to achieve and go from there. Don't apply for something that you already did because it's not going to be that easy again. And don't apply for something that you don't believe in. And finally, The whole world has a website so do some fucking research before you interview. For real.

  2. Excellent advice! Maybe I will do a follow-up post on interviews, but I think you covered it. Be on time, have a clear vision, do some research and be HONEST. Too many people feel the need to say YES to everything but better to admit not knowing something than be caught in a lie.