It’s almost inevitable that one day the dream job you scored will start feeling a little less dreamy.
It could be due to poor management, slow progression, a monotonous workload, or even a switch in teabag brands that’s really pushed you over the edge. There’ll eventually come a time when you hear that little voice inside your head saying, “It’s time to move on.” That’s when you’ll spruce up your résumé and get together a portfolio of your best work. You’ll see the perfect job opening, fire off your application and wait for the call.
So will 120 other talented creatives.
That’s the average number of applications our agency receives when we advertise a new role. And we’re boutique.
As the guy responsible for sifting through the pile, I can tell you that only a small fraction of those applications get a second look. And it has little to do with a shortage of talent. I can’t stress enough how much first impressions count. Considering the volume of applications, most Creative Directors won’t have time to chase up missing information or give you the benefit of the doubt if your application doesn’t tick every box. They’ll hit ‘delete’ and move on.
Here are a few tips that could help you improve the quality of your applications (and, in turn, reduce the headaches that Creative Directors get from reviewing them).
There’s a place for flaunting your top-notch design skills – your portfolio! Your CV just needs to tell me who you are and what great skills and experiences you have under your belt. Don’t be tempted to bedazzle me with flashy typography and adventurous gradients that get in the way. A simple, well-formatted PDF will do nicely.
If you’re good at selling yourself on paper, I’ll assume that you’re also good at selling on behalf of clients. That’s important in any creative role. So be sure to highlight your skills and unique strengths. Tell me why I should consider you above anyone else. I’m not suggesting you be cocky (don’t be cocky). Just show a little confidence in what you do.
Write a cover letter that shows us who you are as a person. It doesn’t matter if it’s an introvert or extravert, a reality TV junkie or an adventure hound. Agencies hire all kinds. We just want to get an idea of what you’re like.
This is the single biggest problem I experience when reviewing applications. A portfolio jam-packed with the most impressive brands and beautiful work doesn’t count for much if I can’t tell what parts of a piece are yours. Did you create the concept? Choose the colour palette? Add a little note and let me know. It’s the difference between getting an interview and not.
(And, yes, we’re always happy to hear from great creative talent – freelance and perm, junior to senior. Introduce yourself on email@example.com)
July 2, 2018, Ben Da Costa