Were it not for Steven having a branded segment titled “Tough Love with Guru Crowder,” I’d use the tag here. What follows will be hard for some of you to read. But you need to read it. Someone needs to tell you what hiring managers haven’t the time to explain: you suck at applying for jobs. Not just a little bit of suck. Imagine Tess Holliday in a slinky two piece performing the high dive. Only instead of diving, she doesn’t. No, she doesn’t roll into a cannonball at the last second. ‘Cause that would be kind of cool, don’t pretend to disagree. Instead, Tess hits the water belly first, her back arching, the force of the impact pealing the two piece from her rippling body.
That’s what too many of you are like when you apply for jobs. Not all of you. But too many.
Harsh? Yes. Triggered? Good. Because being irritated with the messenger, or in this case the first person who sees your application when you apply at Louder with Crowder, is what it may take to get you to change your application ways.
I have to assume if you’re applying with slapdash fashion here, you’re using sloppy tactics elsewhere. Conventional wisdom, and probably people who want you to like them, encourage you to “keep trying, you’ll make it somewhere.” Maybe you will. But you won’t make it somewhere you want to be by wiping your butt with your resume before clicking the send button.
I’ve noticed many of my Millennial brothers and sisters fall back on the same tired excuse: we were never taught how to [fill in the blank]. You may be right. Maybe no one taught you how to create a resume. Maybe you never learned how to write a cover letter. Perhaps no one told you the red squiggle line under a word meant it was misspelled. Perhaps the public education system never offered a course on “Companies don’t want to read why you want something like that annoying brat in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
At some point, the excuses have to stop. At some point, you need to pick yourself up and go learn something. It is up to you and you alone to better yourself.
I told you this read would be hard. It’s also long.
Applying for jobs is annoying, I get it. But so is waiting in a TSA line behind people who don’t put their shoes in plastic bins. Such is life. You can roll your eyes and complain, but your complaints won’t change the system.
Every company, including this one, wants the best people for the job. We want people to be successful, not just because there’s a lot of work to be done, but because we want you to enjoy your work. We also want you to enjoy working with everyone else, and for everyone else to enjoy working with you. None of that is possible if you’re not qualified for the job, if you have the wrong attitude, or you lack the necessary work ethic.
So I’m going to share with you the most common mistakes I see in job applications. Every single one shouldn’t need to be written here, they’re written all over the internet, freely available to those who know how to enter a query into Google. But for some reason, too many people just can’t or don’t think about searching “how to format a resume” or “what to include in a cover letter.”
Before we begin, another bit of bad news: hiring managers, or whoever reads your applications, get inundated with applicants and don’t have time to personally respond to those wondering where they are in the application process. There are a number of people who’ve repeatedly applied for any number of positions here, without getting a personal response. Take this entire post in stride and learn from it what you will. If you weren’t contacted, it’s because you weren’t right for the job for any number of the reasons below.
I’m also aware if you applied here, it’s likely because you’re a huge fan of the show and want to be a part of what we’re doing. Understand I’m writing this to help you with a bit of tough love, to hopefully set you up for success the next go around. Because there’s always a next go around.
1. If there are directions issued, follow them. You would think this point is self-explanatory. It is sadly not. Even the most basic instructions get ignored by people who claim to want a job. I can’t think of any position at any company which doesn’t take direction-following seriously. If you can’t follow basic step-by-step instructions for a job application, how can you be relied upon with important, timely tasks?
2. Learn how to write a cover letter. You have no more than 5 seconds for me to take you seriously. If I open your email, in which you’re trying to impress an employer, and I see seven paragraphs with each paragraph talking about why you want the job for yourself, while offering zero reasons for me to consider you (like why you’re a good fit for the job), you’ll be promptly deleted. I frankly don’t care why you want a job. I want to know if you’re able to perform it. Yet at least 95% of the “cover letters” we receive are “I want this job because I want it and don’t like where I’m working now.” Shorter: “can I haz job?”
Being a conservative in a liberal company isn’t a reason for us to consider hiring you. And while we’re happy you’re a fan of the show, we can’t just hire fans. There’s a lot of real work which needs to be done in a short amount of time.
Frame the writing of your letter around how you can provide value. Remember this, inspired by John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what the company can do for you, ask what you can do for the company.”
3. Learn how to format and proof-read your resume. Again, I shouldn’t have to write this. But try to imagine a hiring manager sorting through hundreds of resumes. Make your resume scannable, easy to read, and most of all relevant to the job to which you’re applying. The internet, your local library, and possibly your mom, are replete with information on how to create a resume. There’s no excuse other than wanton laziness for failing this. Yet so many do.
Also, if you’re applying for a creative field, and your resume is filled with bad formatting, bullet points without words following them, and blank second pages, you’re communicating an inability to care. Why should anyone trust you to carry their product to a large audience if you don’t even care how you present yourself?
4. Learn how to add hyperlinks to an email. Then ensure those hyperlinks work. Welcome to 2018, we internet here. If you don’t know how to highlight text and add a link to it, you probably shouldn’t work for a company which does a lot of its work on and via the internet. Then, before you hit the send button, test those links. I got an email yesterday from a guy wanting a job with a link to his online portfolio. Didn’t work. Yikes, bro.
5. Brevity: keep it brief, to the point, and relevant. More is not better, it’s just more. Remember, a hiring manager reads through hundreds if not thousands of applications. If you can’t see a reason to hire you in 5 seconds or less, cut it down. I know there are some industries which are fine with multiple page resumes. We’re not among them. Keep it to one page. Keep your skills relevant to the job for which you’re applying. That means if you’re applying for a producer role requiring three years minimum experience, being in a high school glee club isn’t relevant.
6. Pay attention to details, like how to spell your prospective employer’s name. Yes, I have to write this. Sad, isn’t it? But I’ve received too many applications from people who are big fans of “Stephen Crowder.”
7. Last and most importantly, do not apply for jobs you’re woefully unqualified for. There are a lot of entry-level jobs out there. If you’re fresh out of school and need some job experience, you’ll probably want to head over to a job marked “entry-level” not “3-5 years experience minimum.” Also “I’m a fast learner” isn’t a skill. Yet just about every cover letter I scan includes “I can’t do this mandatory skill you’re requiring for the job, but I’m a fast learner and enthusiastic!” Again, we work in very tight deadlines. I’m not overselling this here. Most employers aren’t averse to a little on the job training, as every job and company is a little different and has a learning curve. But we do need employees to possess basic skills required of the job. So if you want to be a video editor, but have no experience in video editing outside your iPhone and some time working in Garage Band or iMovie, please don’t apply for a job requiring three years minimum experience with Adobe Premiere and After Effects. It’s on you to learn those programs.
Bonus point: respect the application process and don’t try contacting people who work for the company you’re applying to through their private channels. Persistence is great. Pestering is not. Learn the difference.
I’m sure there are plenty of other points to be made. If you’re a hiring manager, please leave some advice in the comment section.
~Written by Courtney Kirchoff, aka “WorkMom”