How NOT to get hired. Resume, cover letter, conversation killers

Cheryl Kees Clendenon Details

Dear World:

Somewhere we went off the tracks. Or, we have landed in The Twilight Zone. Mediocrity has become the norm and not only is it accepted but no one seems to know the difference anymore.

I hope someone sees this. Just one person would be reason enough to write it. But fair warning; Not for the weak or easily offended. Stand out and make an impression.

The big 13. Do’s and Don’ts. 

  1. Spell check is your friend. I am not going to discuss  this too much because for the love of God if you do not know about spell check you should not be out of diapers yet.
  2. Send a real resume. Not the shortened, lazy  5 line version. You could be freaking Martha Stewart and I will trash it. Include education and if experience is strong then do not be embarrassed if education is more skimpy. Most employers want talent and skills not pedigrees.
  3. Cover letters are like a topic sentence. Remember this from high school. No? Then  you have a problem because most employers love clear and concise…even though we often belabor…we still love clear and concise. Show some personality too please. No cut and paste cover letters. Let us know why you think you might be a good fit. (But oh lord no no no on the “I love to decorate and all my friends say I am really good at it” verbiage.)
  4. State why you think you would be a good fit NOT what you would like to get out of the deal. That comes later folks. No, I want to be a designer so think would be super awesome for you to pay me to follow you around all day. Yes, for real we have heard this.
  5. Do not, and I repeat LOUDLY do not call a place of business without an invitation to do so. This eliminates you immediately as you clearly do not understand why we are looking for someone in the first place. We are freaking busy people. And we do not jump for joy when our clients pop in without appointments either and they pay us! So you think a job seeker should just call up and expect to chat about a position? Have you lost your MIND?
  6. If your resume is skimpy but you think you can wow us with your attention to detail and organizational skills ( both key) then point out the skills you learned in other jobs that pertain to THIS job. YES, this means you may have to tailor the resume or cover letter to the specific job you are applying to…oh my. What a freaking concept. Do NOT say when you were a server for Applebees that your skills “made people feel good”.  True story. How about this instead? In my role as a server, I was able to juggle multiple and varied tasks at once while still maintaining a smile on my face for customers and balancing the needs of  management to turn the tables in a reasonable time frame. 
  7. No photos on your resume. (it is weird)design jobs are tough
  8. If you know the company, and sometimes we put our name out there and sometimes we do not, (See #5,) read a bit about the company before you apply if you truly are interested in the job. I mean, even 15 minutes on our social media gives you a lead over, well, say 99.9 percent of the people who apply. Those are good odds yes??
  9.  If you get a phone interview, then prepare. OH MY. Yes prepare! KNOW something about the firm. Have a few salient points to make. Do NOT GET ON THE PHONE WITH NOTHING TO SAY. Be enthusiastic, articulate and ask questions!
  10. If you get an in person interview, be on time, dress in business casual, BRING ANOTHER RESUME ( shows you are prepared), and…..do not show tattoos, nose rings, ear hole weirdness, midriffs or anything else that might not be consistent with the culture…hey you DID do your research before accepting an interview right?? It is not that these things are verbotten with us but it is not appropriate on an interview until you know the lay of the land.  We typically do not advertise body piercings or tattoos to our clientele. Sorry world but this is just the  WAY IT IS for our business. Let it all hang out as long as it is covered. Each business may feel differently on this but play it safe.
  11. Phone or in person: Do not chew gum. Breath mints sure. Gum, no. A big HELL NO.
  12. Phone or in person: Do not discuss religion or politics.  If you are not smart enough to leave it out during this phase, you are not smart enough to know when to shut up about it with clients. We are not Greenpeace and we are not the NRA. We work with lots of people. Both clients and treasured subs. Short, Tall, Liberal, Conservative, Homosexual, Heterosexual, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, French,Cuban, Fans of velvet, Fans of neutrals, Colorful people,Loud people, Quiet people. We count quite a varied group of people in our lives every day and while we are individuals and encourage personality plus on our team….we do not need to know your opinions on any of the above in a job interview. I do not care and guessing no one else does either.
  13. Be smart about social media. Does anyone entertain the humorous thought that a potential employer does not LOOK YOU UP on social media? COME ON. Thno politicse selfies in the mirror died in 2013 I am pretty sure. Monitor your media and show some restraint if job seeking. Hold off on the rants about your ex and really, tone down any of the religious or political zealousness. This might be ok for some places but again I reference #12. Overt stances in a manner that suggests anything close to zealotry on any topic can be a turn off. Just sayin’.

LASTLY >>>….Follow up.

A simple email will suffice. But not following up tells us you will not do it with clients either and that is one of the top ten “must haves” on our wish list.

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