As you know, I currently have an opening for a senior designer.
In fact, I have a couple of openings. It’s a decent position. Good salary. Benefits. Lots of work. And I want to hire you. Really, I do. But you are making that very difficult.
So, in the interest of helping you get the job you seem not to want, here’s a little advice. I hope it’s useful.
1. You are a designer. That means the most important thing you can show me is design. Not your resume. Not your references. Not your LinkedIn profile. Not your blog. Not your scrapbook. Not your twitter feed. And not your cover letter. Sure, all these things might help me see that you are the kind of person who will fit in with our team, but if I can’t find your portfolio, I won’t waste my time with any of this stuff.
I just reviewed 68 applications for the position you applied for and more than half didn’t include a single sample of design work. Here’s an idea: blow me away with your design talent and leave me wanting to talk to you about everything else. We’ll connect on Facebook after we talk.
2. You need an online portfolio. Offers to show your portfolio “on request” are a waste of your time and mine. Websites are cheap and easy to create, in fact, if you want to be a senior designer, you should have created several of them by now. Get one for yourself. Now. If your portfolio needs to be explained, it’s not good enough.
3. You don’t need to show me every piece of work you’ve done in your career. Just show me the best stuff. Knock my socks off. If you can show me just 5-7 things that are awesome, I’ll know you are capable of greatness. And you’ll get an interview.
4. I don’t care what you did in high school. Or boy scouts. Leave it off your resume.
5. MySpace is not an effective portfolio host. Just trust me on this one.
6. If you’ve been in college since 2003 and plan to graduate in 2011, you need to have a very good story as to why.
7. You may think that putting stuff like “I take long walks, I ponder life’s imponderables” on your resume will make me think you are deep. It doesn’t. It makes me think you are weird.
8. No designer should send an 8-page unformatted word document as a resume. And don’t title it “childprotegy.doc.” (sic). This is the very best way to show me you aren’t.
9. If your website crashes my machine (twice), I won’t come back. Sorry.
10. You know the section on the resume that is usually called “objective”? Leave it out. I know that the objective is to find a job, otherwise you wouldn’t be sending your resume to me. The thing is, no one ever says the objective is to get a job. Instead they write, “to find an upwardly mobile position within a fast-paced, forward-moving organization in which I can contribute to critical strategic initiatives and demonstrate my ability to…blah, blah, blah”. Let’s just leave this section out. It takes up space and tells me you’re not creative enough to think of something better.
11. I know that the expected thing is to send a cover letter and resume. In fact, the posting asks for it. But that doesn’t mean that’s all you should do. You’re a designer. You’re creative. Prove it.
In this economy, there are a lot of people who want the job you are applying for. You need to find a way to stand out. Show me you are an artist. That you think differently. That you’ll contribute. Do that and the job is pretty much yours.
Your friend and possibly future employer,