Every so often, my creative marketing agency does a call-out on various job boards and forums to bring in some new talent to work on upcoming projects and initiatives. Whether we post on design-specific job boards like FSw Jobs, Krop, or FlashinTO, or on more generic boards like CraigsList, we always seem to get a nice pool of respondents. However, like anyone in HR can attest to, only a small handful ever end up actually being considered.
The ones that don’t make it past the cut form a nice collection application faux-pas. Some are mind-blowing. Some are sad. Some are just plain funny. In light of one of our recent call-outs for creative talent, I thought I would shed some light on some of the things that get an application a line by-pass… to the garbage. Here are 7 ways to not get a job.
- Don’t fulfill the application requirements.
About 30% of applicants that applied did not bother reading the application requirements and thus submitted incomplete applications. Yes, your resume and your portfolio are required. Not whichever one you happen to have handy.
Lesson: Read the requirements carefully and make sure you provide everything that is necessary. Unless, that is, you get a kick out of filling up the Deleted Items folder of the recruiter.
- Don’t meet the job requirements.
Naturally, applicants can be ambitious. I do encourage taking leaps and tackling challenges, but no amount of ambition in the world will make you a considerable candidate for a job that requires someone local to Toronto when you’re situated in Neverland.
Lesson: Be honest and realistic. If you don’t meet the requirements of the position posted, don’t waste your time applying, and don’t waste the space in the recruiter’s inbox.
- Spell the company’s name wrong.
Okay, granted, there’s always been some confusion around the spelling of our company name. But if you’re serious about working for us, show us that you’ve taken the time to read at least one line from our website and picked up on the correct spelling of our name. This one calls for an auto-delete in my books.
Lesson: If you don’t take the time to find out how to spell the company name, then why should the company spend the time to consider you? Do your homework and know who you’re applying to.
- Use an unprofessional email address.
sexXxy_aZn_babie_ang3l_69@hotmail.com didn’t get the job. And neither did anyone else with an unprofessional email address. I’m even on the fence between considering emails coming from a Hotmail or Gmail domain, but I can guarantee that your forum screenname won’t get you very far in the working world.
Lesson: Get yourself a professional firstname.lastname email alias, or even better, get yourself your own domain. Hosting providers today make it very easy and affordable for anyone to have their own domain these days. Invest in yourself and give the recruiter one more reason to consider investing in you as well.
- Host your portfolio on geocities.
This one needs no explanation. If you’re applying to a web designer position, you can bet that your geocities portfolio won’t even gain a click-through.
Lesson: Get yourself a professionally hosted website to give your work some credibility.
- Ask if the job is still open without sending your application material.
We appreciate your consideration for not wanting to send in an application if the job wasn’t still open, but in reality, even if the position was still open, we’d likely not have the time to respond with a “Yes, submit your application”, especially if there’s no indication that you’re worth that extra work. Harsh? You betcha.
Lesson: Unless your application is contingent on the answer, if you’re going to take the time to submit a question regarding the position, submit your application with it. You’re up against hundreds of other applicants, don’t make it more difficult for the recruiter to see your work.
- “I’m intrested.”
Yes, we actually received an application with just these two words (spelt exactly as shown, too).
Lesson: Don’t do this. The body of your email application should at least contain a quick introduction of who you are and what your qualifications are. And make sure to make use of spellcheck. :)
And there you have it – a quick list of application hall of lamers. Some things to keep in mind. Some things to definitely avoid.
Leave me a comment if you have some horror stories of your own to add to the list!