As one of the partners of BBR Creative and the person in charge of HR for our ad agency, it’s my responsibility to post job openings and pre-screen responses and résumés. I believe there is a general assumption held by job seekers that people like me are just sitting around all day waiting for those résumés to come in. I can attest that this is never the case with me or most HR professionals. We are all leading busy professional and private lives, experts at multi-tasking, and putting out the immediate fires first. Although the methods and channels for posting job openings and receiving résumés has changed dramatically over the years, here’s a bit of advice from the “gatekeeper” at BBR on how to get your name and your résumé through the clutter.
• Proof it first, my friend.
We are in the business of communication and we take it very seriously. If your email inquiry or cover letter contains a typo or your salutation is for a different company, your information will be immediately relegated to the trash bin. No questions asked. Ditto for the résumé. Take your time, write it well and proof your materials very carefully. Better still, have others proof your cover letter and résumé as well.
• Know a little bit about who we are.
The best cover letters or email inquiries are the ones that connect you to us. Have you been following our work? Mention it. Did you like something about our website? Mention it. Do you know someone who works for us or does your cousin live next door to someone who works for us? Mention that, too.
• Standard cover letters with generic writing are “Oh, so boring and last century.”
The plethora of résumé templates that presumably teach you how to write a proper cover letter, the ones directing you to state the obvious: “I am a highly motivated, team-oriented, blah, blah, blah,” are leading you astray. We are a creative agency. If you want a job here, you need to be a creative thinker, regardless of the position you seek. Prove to us that you can be that kind of thinker and write an engaging cover letter that specifically highlights your unique and positive traits. Prove to us that we should interview you!
• Make sure your résumé is strong.
First, make sure there are no typos. See above to understand the fate of résumés that contain one. Secondly, provide your education, references, and work experience. Most importantly, provide a few examples of job skills or project responsibilities that directly relate to what we do here and how you can apply your experience to the open position. Make sure you’re qualified for the job you’re seeking. Because if the experience does not match the open position, you won’t be able to create a strong résumé, and in the end strong résumés are what makes candidates stand out.
• Don’t just send it and forget it.
Follow up. Don’t just send it and forget about it. The best way to get in the door is to follow-up with calls and emails. Sometimes when a position has been filled, you may have the opportunity to be considered for a different position in the future by standing out from the crowd. However, following up must be done with a keen understanding of balance. Too aggressive of a follow-up may make a prospective employer consider you a pest. I’m sure all HR professionals do not agree on this, but I admire a job seeker who will follow-up with a few calls and emails. This shows initiative and drive and these are the inquiries that I will actually remember.
Today’s job market is tight and at BBR Creative, we have very little turnover. If you’re looking to work here one day, the tips above will be your best chance to get in the door!