The application we received from our head of copy was a handwritten letter – which was just brilliant. Our ECD brought it over and said it was the best application he’d ever seen. It had wit, charm and showed real passion for why he wanted to work for us. It didn’t have a huge CV or portfolio attached, but it was very personal.
We looked at it and instantly knew we wanted to speak to him. He was in Spain at the time, and we pretty much hired him over the phone because he’d created a great impression straight away. In contrast, a straightforward cover letter and CV in black and white with lots of bullet points isn’t going to do that.
Prepare personalised answers for interviews
The same goes for interviews. I often ask people which brands and branding really impresses them, and I hear a lot of the same answers: Apple, John Lewis and so on. But I’m looking for someone with a broader knowledge, and wider cultural reference points than that.
Be patient: job-hopping can turn employers away
It may not be the perfect role straight away. My advice would be to get in somewhere, and build yourself up there – make it work for you where you can, so that you don’t need to hop around all the time (which can also be stressful).
Someone contacted me recently who had been in nine different jobs over four years. I just saw too much risk in that. While that potentially shows ambition and a desire to move to the next title, it also seems like they will go for something marginally better as soon as it comes, and that’s not so appealing to an employer.