I remember all the rush of getting a job as soon as possible, all the commotion of registering with all the work agency I can get my hands on, and I remember most of all how it feels not being called for an interview or being turned down.
As time past, I now found myself on the other side of the fence. I am the employer now. And I’m not happy when I looked at all these job applications. So, let me share you a bit about what employer wants from your applications, and how you can trick us into calling you for an interview. I’m speaking in the context of the Creative Industry of course. I hope that these tips can help you job-seekers found what you looking for. But I must remind you that these tips are based on my experience and perspective only, and did NOT represents all the company out there, think of it as foot note.
Okay, first thing first!
1. DO NOT APPLY TO EVERY JOB VACANCY YOU SEE.
This is where fresh-grads usually done wrong. I know and I’ve been there. You need to get a job ASAP, any job. That’s where you’re wrong. You see, we need you as much you need us. So the first thing you need to do is to find out what your strength are. Then, find that job vacancy where you can really exploit your strength to your benefit. I guarantee we’ll notice you.
2. APPLICATION LETTER IS IMPORTANT.
Research research research! Research about the company! and write it to make it look like you know enough about us, and you can make us a better company. And yes, we know about that from the application letters. I’ve received thousands of job applications all these years, and yet I’ve only look at probably a third of them. You guessed right! They were the ones that came with an application letters. It is where you can sell the shit out of yourself to us, you can say any bullshit you want and we’ll believe you. The truth will come out at the interview anyway, but at least you got called!
3. MAKE A CLEAN CV.
You won’t believe how many crap I’ve been through relating to this. From the use of Comic Sans to a shitty CMYK straight to PDF portfolio. So many graphic designers out there tried to make the CV stands out. Let me tell you, DON’T! We know you’re good even if you have a simple clean CV, so don’t try too hard. Create a clean, simple, easy-to-read, nice-looking CV. If you want to know how, just google the damn thing. The important thing for us is to know where you’ve been, what you’ve been through, and what you can do. And we want to do that without crying blood out of our eyes.
4. CREATE A BADASS PRESENTATION.
Relating to point number 3. This is WHERE you try hard to impress us with your skills. Portfolio is not just a thing where you put all the work you’ve done, it’s a presentation of yourself. Let me ask you, when you have a presentation, did you put all the ideas both good and bad on it? No! You put your best ones. Same here, do not, let me say it again, DO NOT put all your work. Throw out the shitty ones and present the best ones. As for myself, I only need to see at least 3 of your work to decide whether I should call you or not.
5. KNOW WHO YOU ARE.
I guess this point quite overlaps the first point a bit. But, nevertheless, know what you do, and apply for the right job. If you’re an illustrator, do not apply for the graphic design vacancy. Same goes the other way around. I have to admit that in the creative industry, there are some blurry line between the expertise, especially for the fresh-grads. It’s not your fault really, so please let me help you now. Unless you’re really good at everything, find out what you really good at, and find a job that needs your expertise, you can learn about other things along the way. At least you’ve got a job secured.
6. DO NOT MAKE US WAIT.
I know what you’re thinking. No, not on the interview. To tell you the outcome of being late on an interview, is like telling a fish “you know Bob, you can swim..”. I meant before the interview, the time when we received your email. Some applicants are naive enough to think that we want to download 500Mb of files through wetransfer.com. We don’t. We won’t look through a gazzilion attachments on the email either. Do us a favor, make a lightweight PDF file for all your works. We’re going to see it on the screen, so don’t hassle yourself to make it a 300dpi artwork, we won’t print it. If you have print portfolio bring it on the interview.
7. THE INTERVIEW.
Congratulations! You got called! Now is not the time for you being stupid. Dress appropriate, that means wear a shirt, and shoes (not Crocs). You probably heard that first impression decides the rest, now let me tell you, that phrase is true. Although for me, my final decision to hire you or not are not based on that. Do not speak unless you’re spoken to, not yet. Please don’t go babbling to try and impress us so early in the interview, you have a chance to do so after we asked you all the things we want to know. Be confident. We can see how you carry yourself on your confidence, and make no mistake, we can only judge your work ethics, based on how you present yourself . Last but not least, give us a smile. It may not be your day, but you got called for an interview, that’s something to be happy about. Believe me when I say, a smile goes a long way.
Well, that’s all I can think of right now. I assure you I will update this post as soon as anything comes to mind. In the mean time, for all you job-seekers out there, I say good luck and go kick some ass!