As the Managing Director here at MyWork I have seen my fair share of resumes in my time. Without any exaggeration, I would confidently say that over 90% of them were so bad, I did not even bother reading past the first 2-3 sentences.
The rules below are of course just my opinion, however rest assured that if you are wanting to get a job in web design (or any job in the digital space for that matter) and you’re not applying these rules yourself, you’re instantly on the back foot.
1. PDF only.
This rule applies for every resume on earth, not just web design. Do not under any circumstances ever send out another resume unless you have saved it in PDF format. Saving a word document in PDF format used to be difficult, however these days all you have to do is simply go to “Save As” and choose .pdf as the file extension. By sending a PDF file you are ensuring that your document is being read in exactly the same format and styling as you intended it to. Your goal is to impress your potential future employer and ensuring that the person doing the hiring can quickly and easily open your resume is going to go a long way to at least having them consider you. If you’re sending out word docs or heaven forbid txt files as I mentioned earlier, you’re on the back foot even before your resume has even been read.
2. You design websites right… well prove it.
You have to include some examples of your work with any job application you make. Too bad if you claim you’ve designed plenty of websites, unless your future boss can see them him/herself then forget about getting a reply to your email. Do yourself a huge favour and setup a portfolio website. Show that you at least know how to setup a domain name (e.g. yourname.com.au) and put together a simple site with details of who you are and some screenshots (preferably live links) to websites you’ve designed before. If you can’t do this, at least set yourself up with a Behance profile.
3. Proof read it before sending it.
If there is just one typo / spelling mistake in your cover letter / resume this is what your potential new boss thinks…. “Well if s/he can’t get something this basic right, they’ll never get anything right working here”. Get your partner, friend, parent or anyone for that matter to proof your resume before you send it off. On a similar note, do yourself a favour and name your resume files appropriately. You display limited attention to detail if your resume is called “resume.DOC”… instead call it “Jenny_Smith_Resume.pdf”. Literally 5 seconds work and you’re already ahead of 90% of the people who have applied for the job.
4. Sound interested.
When I call you up and say I want to meet with you and you say, “Oh well I’m pretty busy this week, so perhaps I could do Friday arvo I guess, but if not maybe sometime next week?”… what do you think my initial impression is? Remember first impressions count in every aspect of life. Even if you cannot make it, simply say why and offer an alternative time that is somewhat close to the time your potential new employer has proposed.
5. No generic cover letters.
“Dear HR Manager, I would like to apply for the position at your company. I feel I would be a huge asset to your team.” Translation: “Dear HR Manager, I have jumped on seek.com.au at midnight and mass applied for every job in Australia. I don’t even know who you are or what you do, but please give me thousands of dollars to work for you.” Sure, you don’t have time to write a completely custom letter with every single application, however at a bare minimum at least modify the opening 1-2 sentences to mention the name of the employer and the position on offer. Tip: If you do up a completely custom letter that focuses on why you perfectly meet all of the requirements of the job it shows you not only have the skills but you honestly really want the job too.
I look forward to being able to link to this post next time we post a job ad for a position at MyWork.
Please be sure to leave your comments and let me know if you, as an employer or someone looking for a job, either agree or disagree with my points above.