We are looking for a Creative Designer with skills in both graphic and online design for a lovely business in South Bristol. Creative with a technical edge needed, not coding, but knowledge of design for the web essential. We also need to find a freelancer while we place the permanent position, so please let me know if you are interested in either, and spread the word too!
Having spent 25 years reviewing CVs and applications from candidates who would like (it would seem) to start or continue their career by moving jobs or getting their first role, it still never ceases to amaze me how badly some people present themselves in writing.
Now I say “some people” because, of course, as a recruiter I do get amazing CVs from brilliant people who can write, spell, use grammar well, and who are communicative and responsive. Needless to say, this group of applicants goes on to secure sought after jobs and have happy and fulfilling careers.
However, other applications received from literally hundreds of approaches we get EVERY week, from candidates applying for jobs or wishing to engage our services to help them find a new role, are not always up to scratch.
I’ve written about this subject before; I’ve cajoled, persuaded, guided, advised literally thousands of people in the last 25 years, all about the two most important aspects of job applications; the CV and the covering letter (these days it’s a covering email).
Forget (for a minute) your LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook profiles. Forget the online portfolio/website or the PDF with work examples and case studies. Let’s just focus on the covering email.
In March this year, we did a review of 1,000 roles advertised on the internet in the fields of marketing, PR, creative and digital. 83% of those advertisements asked for a CV as the first point of application, which I guess also means those CVs would be sent with a covering letter/email.
So far in April, we have reviewed 1,000 candidates who have approached our network of recruitment businesses and me personally through social media and our websites. 67% of those applications didn’t get past the screening process. This is for one of five reasons.
a) No relevant experience for the role to which they applied (or no attempt to tailor past experience and explain how it’s relevant)
b) No covering letter at all, leaving me to guess the role in which they might or might not be interested
c) No CV attached and no clues in the email as to what the candidate might be interested in finding out more about
d) Spelling or grammatical errors in the covering email (don’t forget the email subject line too!), or addressed to entirely the wrong person/company
e) A terrible CV! And I don’t necessarily mean skills/experience, mostly poorly written, bad use of grammar, spelling mistakes, bad presentation
My focus in this post is the covering note – I’ll come back to CVs and the other points above in later posts.
Grammar, spelling, punctuation and getting the detail right
How difficult is it to learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Between “their” and “they’re” and “there”? How difficult is it to make a telephone call to find out my name is Liz and therefore not address your letter to Sue (presumably the last person you wrote to)? When do you use an apostrophe? How many times in one communication can you use the word “I”? (Surely at this stage it’s about the reader, not just you?). How much effort does it actually, really take to write a relevant covering note that will grab my attention and make me want to open the attachment? Why are you referring to the fact that you are looking for an in-house corporate job when applying to a role within an agency? Why have you simply cut and pasted your CV into the covering letter rather than tailoring it to the job to which you have applied? Why did you not read the job advertisement correctly?
In the creative sector, we work in the area of communication. Whether that’s through design, PR, communications, marketing, digital or social media, we are communicating with our audiences and stakeholders. To get on in this industry, you need to be able to write. Whatever your discipline or specialism, the written word is crucial (along with other skills of course).
Over the last ten years, the standard of application letters and covering emails has fallen, dramatically. It’s partly to do with text speak, social media and email, making everything seem so much more casual and informal (but that’s NO excuse).
For the recent graduates/school leavers, it’s also due to the lack of advice given during school or university about how to apply for a job. And for the more experienced candidates, I’m really not sure to be honest……a combination of relying on a LinkedIn profile and a few references; a very buoyant recruitment market; expecting social media to do the work? And not using spell check.
One of the most common complaints I hear from candidates is the lack of response they get when they apply for a job. I understand that’s frustrating. But to be honest, recruiters (both in-house and agency) get so much response, a lot of which is irrelevant, I can see how recruiters decide not to respond to those that are unsuitable, even though that may be seen as being impolite.
There’s plenty of advice available on the internet at a click of a button – spend a bit of time getting your first approach right and your response rate will increase, particularly if you also follow up your application with a phone call (which is a whole other topic!)
If you are interested in moving jobs, or getting one, within the creative sector, please send me an email (if you dare!) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Recruiter and Consultant, Creative, Marketing and PR email@example.com 07486 355 040
Due to popular demand…..
Getting your first job in the creative sector is a challenge! You’ve recently graduated, and are very keen to get started, or you are looking for your next new challenge in the early stages of your career. Whether it’s through an internship, a placement or a permanent role you need to know how to navigate the world of work and make the right connections.
Team Liz Gadd has a group of consultants and mentors who can help you through this challenging time and ensure you find the right opportunities and roles for you. With over 25 years’ experience in helping candidates in the marketing and PR sectors find new jobs and opportunities, the team can help you make the right choices and the right connections. We are absolute specialists and have a huge network of contacts that we are happy to share!
Take a look at: www.linkedin.com/in/lizgadd for more information.
An agency working all over the world but with its roots firmly in Bristol, a focused team of passionate people working together with clients we believe, and specialists in the events and technology industries means that the team can quite often be found with journalists backstage at a festival, or launching a new technology on the other side of the world.
A dynamic and forward thinking group of people, meaning no separate social department, as social is integrated into the day for every member of the team. Working as an extension of our client’s teams and respecting their ambitions, brand values, business plans and therefore the team all tailor communications that are perfectly in tune with their objectives.
This role is working in the AV/IT industry on leading brands including LG, Casio and SiliconCore, as well as virtual reality experts Holovis and event businesses Bluman Associates and Really Creative Media.
We are looking for a tenacious and team orientated Account Manager who is prepared to put their all into this role to develop innovative social and traditional media campaigns for leading technology brands. You’ll need to enjoy some geek chic and be excited by the opportunity to travel throughout the UK and internationally alongside your account team.
We are looking for an expert in social media, delivering timely and relevant content that pushes the boundaries. You will build excellent relationships with media and opinion formers, clients and your fellow team to deliver on these fun and personality filled industries.
Fast progression and dynamic growth will be offered for the right team member who can deliver above and beyond the call of duty.
If you have a can-do attitude, love of technology and it’s place in a changing world, a passion for writing, excellent communication skills, you’re flexible and a bit of a perfectionist, this could be the perfect role for you.
You’ll have an excellent grasp of grammar and punctuation, be very happy to pick up the phone to a journalist, be tenacious and have a positive and sunny disposition and going the extra mile is natural for you!
Everyone in the team has their own distinctive style and personality but it’s a certain joie de vivre that glues them all together. You’ll love the job more if you are passionate about the technology, arts, music, and culture: themes which run through our client base. And they are a digitally savvy bunch and passionate about good prose, a nicely written website and the perfect pun.
Marketing Manager for a luxury travel brand, based in Bristol. This is a very interesting and exciting job for a consumer/lifestyle marketing manager with great experience across the whole marketing mix. You’ll get involved in all aspects – digital, social, traditional marketing and manage a small team in a superb environment with inspirational people. Send me your CV and a covering note letting me know your current salary; I’ll give you a call.
Marketing Executive for events and exhibitions design business based in Gloucestershire. Looking for a marketing executive with good experience in marketing b2b services to a wide range of blue chip companies and public sector. Great chance to combine marketing, digital and social media skills in a lively and friendly small team environment.