Help Me Hire You

Applying for jobs online can be really disappointing. Hiring from a posting online can be equally bleak. This past week, I’ve had the opportunity to look through submissions from about 50 job applicants, all for the same position. There were some great applicants, there were also a ton of very poor submissions; such is the nature of craigslist. The things that create negative first impressions can be funny, little things that you may not think of. I’ve been keeping a list of some things that have come up during this process.

Online postings can seem somewhat casual, but keep in mind that you are still applying for a job; don’t be sloppy, and don’t be a weirdo.


Read the whole job posting. If it clearly states how many days a week the position is for, don’t ask how many days in a week the position is for.

Do what the posting says. If it says to email a link to your portfolio, don’t drop by with a book. If it says to phone, don’t email. If it says include a cover letter and CV, do it. Otherwise it seems like you can’t follow basic directions.

– If you’re applying for a job in a visual field, include a link to your visual work.

Check your spelling. Don’t tell me how great your “attention to detale” is.

Keep track of where you’re applying. Don’t apply for the same position twice in two days. I’m sure you’re firing off applications to as many jobs as you can find, but it shouldn’t seem like that to the person reading your application.

– Following up is fine; just don’t follow up by phone on a Monday morning. Businesses are starting their week, and have a lot of things to get underway. If they haven’t had a chance to look at your application yet, they’re certainly not going to drop what they’re doing just because you phoned. Don’t pester.

Include your name. (True story.) Sending an email from “”, with a link to a site that doesn’t have an ‘about’ page, or anywhere to find your real name is a turnoff for potential employers. And you didn’t even sign your email? Shame on you.

– It’s ok to apply for jobs you’re likely qualified for, but don’t have experience (knowing that you may be passed over for someone who has that experience). But your work should be relevant. Maybe. For example, your wedding portfolio might be amazing, but does it apply to the graphic design position you’re inquiring about? Show the person hiring that you can do the job.

Don’t write too much; no one wants to read a novel.

Be sure to write enough. “I’m interested in the craigslist job. Here’s my portfolio” isn’t enough. Think a short paragraph’s-worth of words. Assume that the person reading won’t be opening any of your attachments or links; what do they need to know about you?

– If you get a rejection email, do not respond with an angry email asking why you weren’t hired. (Yep, it happened). A polite response is something like “Thank you for considering my application. Please let me know if I can be of help in the future.”


I feel like I could go on and on, but what about you? Have you ever been involved in a hiring/selection process? What impressed or irked you?

1 Comment

  1. This was good post! It certainly made me laugh a few times 🙂
    I’ve probably made one or two of those mistakes my self. Also, I once made a job post on Craigslist and received so MANY replies, which gave me a chance to see how people present them selves – some had great and personalized replies, and some where extremely generic. It gave me an opportunity to see who my ‘competitors’ are in that field, and helped me understand how to stand out from the rest of the applicants!


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