Jess here, back to spit more knowledge at the world.
Due to the popularity of my original post: “Get your foot in the door: 5 tips to secure the interview” and the fact that I’m constantly astounded by job applications received, I’ve decided to write a follow-up piece. What can I say, I’m a giver.

1. Not applying for a specific position

This truly kills me. Is there any way to better tell a company that you’re just sending out your resume all willy-nilly than not applying for a specific position?
No company is going to research some ambiguous candidate to see if any of their skills could be an asset to the team. They are trying to fill a need, not help you gain employment.
Choose a path and tell us why you’re the best solution to the problem we have.
Warning: If you call asking to send your resume with no position in mind, you will get a 10 minute+ explanation from me on how this is the wrong way to apply for a job. I have a really annoying voice, so I highly recommend not doing this.

2. Choosing a position you don’t have the skill-set for

While advertising has a lot of crossover between departments, when we are looking for a web developer, someone who went to school for business but once built a Geo Cities site simply will not do. Unless, of course, it was a pretty sweet Geo Cities site.

We completely understand that those right out of school or just coming into the advertising world have less experience. That’s absolutely fine, that’s why we have junior positions.
We literarily look at hundreds of applicants for a position. So if you have the skills needed, surface them for us. If not, apply for a position that better fits your strengths and qualifications.

3. Applying for a position with the goal of leaving that position as soon as possible

We get it, you have aspirations. I have aspirations too, they leave little sweat circles on my shirts. Sorry…no…perspiration, I have perspiration.

If we have a need to fulfill and you’re only applying because you think it will queue you up for a future position you find more desirable in the company, well that just leaves us with having to fill that original position again. And train someone, again.
There is absolutely room for growth in advertising, and in this company specifically. But if you’re not prepared for and eager to excel at the job you’re interviewing for, don’t think you’ll have a chance at anything else down the line.

4. Not providing us with materials asked for

This one seems like a bit of a duh, but you’d be surprised. We don’t get a sick joy out of writing requirement lists, we actually want those items provided to us. Well I get a sick joy out of it, but I can’t speak for the rest of the team.

Let me put it this way, if you just send your resume when we also asked for your book and a cover letter, it’s a bit like no one hearing that tree falling by itself in the forest. We didn’t see it, we didn’t look at it, and once it’s gone, it’s like it never happened.

5. Not putting some effort into your email

Once I was offered a candy bar that had a really boring wrapper. When opened, however, it revealed the most amazing, delicious chocolate I’d ever experienced. Except I didn’t actually experience it, because its boring wrapper made me not open it.

The subject and body of your email are that candy wrapper. These are the first opportunities you have to pique our interest. Give us a subject line that intrigues. Don’t go crazy here, I’m not advocating for you to send us an email labeled “Unicorn farts and your future copywriter” (or am I?).

Also, don’t just put your cover letter into the body of the email. Especially if it’s attached as a PDF as well. The repetition makes me feel like I’m caught in a Matrix glitch. And not from the first movie either, from the horrible, unspeakable sequels. Write something different, new, and interesting to read instead.

Advertising is a great field to work in, and this company is a fantastic place to work (cough, hi bosses!). If you’re applying here, we want you to know how to get our attention.

Have any questions about our open positions? The best place to look is our Careers page.

Have any specific questions about this article? Feel free to tweet us at @WeAreBerman or email us at

Next up: What is good work?