What not to say when you apply for a job at an interactive marketing agency

by Karl Sakas on April 5, 2011

When my Marketing Coordinator job application asks about your experience using Mac OS X and Google Docs/Spreadsheets, do not respond, “Not much experience with Mac OSX or Google Spreadsheets. I mainly use Word Spreadsheets.”

Sorry, “Word Spreadsheets” does not exist.

When you are applying to the Drupal Front-End Developer position at Coalmarch Productions, do not say your salary expectations are “$120K.”

We already said right next to the application that we’re offering $20-25/hour for a full-time contract position in Raleigh, NC.

And when I’m hiring a marketing coordinator for my ad agency, do not describe yourself memorably in your application as, “Premier internet stalker.”

Creepy. Revise that to be less memorable, like “excellent at online research.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil Buckley April 5, 2011

I don’t know Karl, I would put the “Premier internet stalker” to the test and have them prove it!

It would certainly depend the the creepy factor for the rest of the resume, but personally that wouldn’t be a no-go for me… I find it interesting.

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Brianne Villano April 5, 2011

Creep-tastic.

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Regina Twine April 5, 2011

I agree with Phil. “Premier internet stalker” got your attention. You might have laughed and then proceeded to show it around the office. That person is creative AND has a sense of humor.

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Janet M. Kennedy April 5, 2011

I wish more employers would list “what not to say”. Sometimes the line between “funny” & “creative” and “we are such a stuffed shirt company even though we want to be in social media” are totally unclear.

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Dan April 5, 2011

Odd choice…

I can’t stand seeing “guru, ninja or rockstar” in resumes either.

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Stacey Alexander April 5, 2011

I want to meet these people.

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Jamie Lee April 5, 2011

My boss just interviewed a college sophomore for an internship who told her it wasn’t his responsibility to print out his resume since he already sent her the PDF. Then he was upset he didn’t get the job.

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Karl Sakas April 6, 2011

@Phil: I think she was just being overly enthusiastic. But still, boundaries…

@Brianne: Right after posting this article, I ran into a woman in the elevator who asked if I worked in the building. I said I did. Then she asked, “How do I find someone’s home address?” I was confused. She reiterated, “Where can I find where someone lives?” I suggested she try the post office and beat a retreat to my office.

@Regina: I definitely showed it around the office. In fact, I started a Google Doc listing the funny/strange things people put in their applications.

@Janet: That’s a good point. It really depends on the company’s culture. Coalmarch is laid-back enough for that to be OK.

@Dan: Thankfully, I haven’t heard from any gurus, ninjas, or rockstars this time.

@Stacey: Maybe… but they aren’t getting interviews at Coalmarch.

@Jamie: That seems to be about personal responsibility, right? If anything, you bring an extra copy of your resume to glance at during the interview, to remind yourself of relevant points.

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Brian McDonald April 6, 2011

Karl,
Send the Word Spreadsheets candidate my way, I need an expert in that! ;)

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Chelsea Junget April 6, 2011

There’s a fine line between showcasing a little personality and coming across as unprofessional. It’s hard to know where that line is sometimes!

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