How to get the (creative) job

You have 30 seconds to get my attention. Knock me down. Grab me by the shirt. Do SOMETHING to make me look at you.

Cover Letters

I’ve read 200 cover letters that say:

“I am writing to inquire about the position of…
“This letter is to express my sincere interest in job number XXX listed on your company website.”
“You will find my qualifications make me an excellent fit for your company”

I’ve only ever read one that started with, “I miss sweet tea, I really do.” His cover letter got him the interview. He’s been working on my team for seven years and is one of the best hires I’ve ever made.

If your cover letter doesn’t define your personality or stand completely out from the pile, don’t write one. A poorly written or just plain boring cover letter could keep me from even getting to your resume. If the job for which you’re applying has “writer” anywhere in it, your cover letter HAS to be interesting and well written and 100% error free. I can’t tell you how many people get cut from the pile for typos or addressing their letter to a company other than mine. Details are important, and if you can’t get them right in your first impression, I don’t want you on my team.

Take a risk with the cover letter. Bring something “uniquely you” to it. Talk more about what you can do for me and this opening than outlining every experience you’ve had. For the love of Mary, please don’t blind me with jargon. Hiring managers don’t have time (or the desire) to read a cover letter that’s a page, or God forbid 2 pages, long. Keep it short and sweet and use it to make me HAVE to read your resume because I’m so intrigued by you! Or don’t write one. 


I hire creative people. Creative people use every contact point creatively to get attention. Make your resume stand out visually.You don’t have to be a designer (unless you’re applying for a design position and then I promise you your resume HAS to be designed!) You do need to show me at least a glimpse of your creativity and your understanding of creating a personal brand. You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression if your resume looks like the 100 others on my desk. Make it memorable.

If you don’t have the experience, sell your skills. List them first. Skills based resumes work better for people who haven’t been in the workforce long or who have gaps in their resume or who are trying to transition to a new field. Sell how transferrable your skills are.

Objectives are 1980

Objective:To join a team committed to excellence.
Objective: To expand my knowledge on a team that is united for a common goal for the good of the company. 

I assume the objective is to get a job. Unless it’s exceptionally clever or passes the “knock me down” test above, leave it out.

Social Media

Please … especially you young folks out there just entering the job market, clean up your social media accounts BEFORE you apply — hiring managers WILL check and tweets of last weekend’s kegger don’t leave a good first impression.
Everybody’s a social media guru these days. If you’re trying to get a social media job or a job that requires social media – your resume should include your social media profiles and links to samples of your social media work. I just read 60 resumes for a Social Media Manager and *fewer than than five had links to social profiles. I’ll know how much of a guru you are if you make it super easy for me to find your genius.  At the very least, your resume should have clickable links to your twitter and linkedin pages.


This is a no brainer, but I’m amazed by how many people don’t do it. Customize the cover and resume for the job you’re trying to get. Make it easy to hire you!
What tactics have worked to get you the job? Hiring managers, share your success stories and pet peeves!