Friday, 1 August 2008

It's that time again.

Time for a small rant about job applications. Most people in publishing, not to mention most freelancers, have spent an enormous amount of time completing and sending job applications – it's a high-turnover industry – so you'd think we'd all have it down to a science ...

Starting from the premise 'looking for a job is stressful and everyone makes mistakes', I'd like to highlight some very common mistakes in applying for a job:

1. Typos.
If you are applying for an editorial job and your application contains a typo, grammatical screw-up, spelling mistake or error of fact, your application goes in the bin.
It is of course unfortunate that this may be the only job in the world for which this is the case, but if you can't be bothered to proof-read your application to be a proof-reader, woe betide the novelist who gets you tinkering with her masterpiece.

2. Misspelling or omitting the addressee's name. This is insulting, and falls in with the above. If a name is listed with an advertisement, use it – to do otherwise infers that you have not read the ad properly, or that you assume that I am not the person making the decisions.

3. Apologising. A simple 'Apologies for the delay in getting back to you ... ' will do it. I don't need to know that you spilled a latte on your laptop, that your dog was hit by a car, or that you've been praying to the porcelain god since gastroenteritis hit. I need to know that you know that you've taken a while to respond to my email, that's all. Ideally, we'd all respond to emails the nanosecond that they arrive, but ideally, I'd be swanning around the south of France with nice glass of wine right now. You get the idea.

4. Ask questions. This doesn't make you look unsure of yourself, or of your prospects of getting hired. It's just professional, and it speaks to your ability to see the bigger picture. I've asked for your CV; you can ask for more information about the job.

And with that, over and out, my friends. Enjoy the Irish Bank Holiday weekend!