By Chemory Gunko
MD & Creative Director
Dsignhaus (Pty) Ltd
With our staggering unemployment rates and high competition for every advertised post, you’d think job seekers would put more effort into how they present themselves.
Sadly, day after day I see enquiries and emails from candidates that contain the most obviously glaring no-nos.
So, here are a few tips for potential advertising, marketing and communications job seekers.
And by spelling of course, I mean English. The language. The real one.
Bcos ds is nt hw I xpct u 2 talk 2 my clnts.
We work in a media and communications environment. This means I am judging the impression you make from the very moment I receive your email.
If the txt is all bunched up like dis cntns no punctuation n u hvnt bothered to frmt it – I’m NOT interested! In fact, chances are I will not even read an email that looks like that.
If you cannot present yourself, when you know all the information there is to know about you, how are you ever going to represent my company – or create professional collateral for the clients we represent?
Day after day, especially on social media, I see potential and soon-to-be graduates posting job enquiries on communications agencies’ pages, and all of them contain glaring errors, horrible (or no) punctuation, no formatting, and simply no regard for the English language.
First impressions last
This is an industry where we sell the services of being able to professionally – and effectively – represent a client’s brand, products and services in a way that will get the client noticed, leave a powerful positive impression of their brand and drive sales and business to their doors.
How could I ever entrust such a crucial role to someone who takes no pride in how they represent themselves?
Whether you’re marketing yourself, my company or one of my client’s, first impressions are crucial in determining how the reader is going to remember – and interact – with you for the balance of the relationship.
Choose your medium carefully
One of the very key understandings required of any halfway decent marketing person is the understanding of which medium is best suited to what kinds of communication.
The correct way to submit a CV?
Probably email. With a well-thought out and crafted introduction and all the additional information I’d need to be able to make an educated decision about you.
The wrong way to enquire about a job?
A fbook pst tht lks lk dis. Or a twitter post like that – or any post of any kind on social media!
If you really want the job, pick up a phone, find out who the correct contact person is and send them a well-crafted email that you spent a week agonizing over.
Sort out your portfolio
Likewise, sort out your portfolio and send it with your first email.
If I have to ask you to send me portfolio pieces, then you do not have the basic knowledge you need in order to work for me.
A huge part of being a successful marketer is knowing what supporting documentation needs to be included with communications that are sent.
If you cannot understand this when it comes to your own job applications, then how will you ever apply that knowledge to maintaining my company’s reputation for excellent marketing communications?
Show – don’t tell!
Similarly, I’m not interested in hearing how good a copywriter you are – if you are a great copywriter I’ll see it from the moment I read the first line of your email.
If you’re an amazing designer, you’ll wow me with a beautifully designed html email.
The truth of the situation is that if you are good, great or even just halfway decent at the skills you are purporting to have, it will shine through obviously and immediately – and you won’t need to tell me how wonderful you are.
I’m not second choice
And receiving an email from you telling me how you’ve been applying for jobs everywhere and just haven’t found one – or you found one and then you left because they were abusing you – does not make me want to give you work.
I’m not your friend – I may possibly be your future employer, but I will never be your buddy.
When you’re telling me about all the other people that don’t want to hire you, I’m silently sending up a prayer of thanks that I won’t have to waste an hour interviewing you – you’ve already told me you’re not worth hiring.
I don’t give jobs to people out of sympathy.
I give jobs to people who deserve it, are hard working and have the talent and skillset I need to ensure my team is able to consistently produce world-class marketing.
If you want sympathy and commiseration: go out for a drink with your friends.
We’ll call you
There is a time to follow up – and a time not to follow up. As a marketer, you are expected to know when and how to differentiate between the two.
A bad example of a follow up is a repeat post on a Facebook page shouting about how we haven’t responded to your previous (really badly written) post.
You cannot threaten, cajole or bully someone into giving you a job. Likewise – having a degree, or an almost-degree, does not make you the best candidate for the job.
Here’s a tip: if someone is interested in hiring you they’ll let you know – and quickly, because just like you’re moaning about the lack of jobs out there, we as employers are bemoaning the lack of talent and skilled professionals in the job market.
So if you aren’t getting the calls back, then you really need to rethink how you’re presenting yourself in the first place.