How NOT to apply for a job

The publisher of this website tells how one freshly minted, just-out-of-school candidate did everything dead wrong.

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Think before you fire off those job applications for the first time.

It seems like an obvious tip, right? Well, apparently it’s not. Let me explain.

I recently posted an ad on an online jobs site for reporters and editors.

I give a detailed summary of the job and specific instructions for applying. On the top of my list I asked for a cover letter that goes beyond the words, “Attached please find.” Show me some voice, personality, style.

Within an hour I received an application with NO cover letter. The resume came from a young man with a graduate degree from a prestigious journalism school.

I replied to the young man, reminding him of my request for a cover letter. A few minutes later I get this reply, “which company are you again?”

Going against my instinct to move on, I informed him that he had applied for a position at PR Daily.

Moments later I received a two-paragraph reply about his passion for PR and his eagerness to land the job. Ok, this is worth pursuing, I thought. Let’s give him a shot.

I asked him to write a how-to story of his choosing and to focus on helpful advice about any aspect of social media. I provided tips on how to cast the story, research it on the Web, and pivot off breaking news. Finally, I promised to pay him for his story.

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