So in the course of any one day I get a stack of emails from people that seemingly have no idea how/why to apply for a role in the creative industry.


Normally it’s cool, I’m polite and reply with a, “thanks but no thanks…” sort of thing, trying to offer a piece of advice where and when I can. But occasionally, towards the end of a long day, I don’t. And I write something like this:

“Dear *****

Thank you for your application for the position of Digital Designer - UX/UI specialist.                        

Unfortunately we’re not able to put you forward for this role for a number of reasons, chiefly your lack of industry experience.

If you’ll allow me to offer a little advice…

I completely understand how difficult it is to get your first break in this industry but there’s a number of things you could and should be doing differently if you’re going to give yourself the best chance.

First of all your CV is a word.doc - if you’re a designer, don’t do that. Think of your CV as the first page of your portfolio; it’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate how awesome a communicator you are.

It should be concise, well laid out (watch those widows and orphans) and broadly speaking, should show you know how to effectively get a  message across.

In your covering letter you say, “As you will notice from my CV, I have worked in various design roles…” Have you?? Because it’s definitely not clear from your CV. Other work experience is great but if it’s not relevant, don’t make a song and dance about it - saying you’ve pulled a pint will make very little difference when it comes to bagging design a role.

Finally your site. You’re applying for a digital designer position and you’re pointing me towards a Behance page? In the ad copy we’re asking for candidates to knock us out with a range of work and you don’t even have your own site?? Come on.

I hope this email doesn’t sound too harsh - it’s been a long day - but I genuinely want to help if I can.

You can call me on ***** ****** anytime from 8am tomorrow morning and I’ll do my best to pass on any advice I can.

A couple of links that might help:

A blog post I wrote a while back with some tips for those new to the industry:

A site that’ll help you with some ideas for CV layouts:

Good luck with your search and maybe speak soon.


I didn’t push send in the end but part of me still kinda wishes I had. Would I have got a response? Would they have been upset or would they have taken it in the manner in which it was intended?

You’re thoughts, dear reader, would be very much appreciated…

Views: 581

Comment by Amber on March 26, 2013 at 11:15am

I think every recruiter, hiring manager, etc. can totally relate to this! I guess less then 10% of resumes are even remotely qualified for any search I'm doing. BUT since I am not a "niche" recruiter, I often find candidates that have great backgrounds in their field.

On to the larger percentage of resumes we receive every day....

No contact information. Yes, I am excited to take up the challenge of finding you - not.

No resume attached.

Bizarre resume format. Why? I do not need to be amused by pretty colors, highlighting, or 20 different fonts. And the smiley face - WTH?

Inappropriate email address. It is hard to take seriously.

Email or cover letter addressed to someone else. Sigh, bit insulting that 30 seconds to revise properly wasn't important to you.

The only time I normally respond to the majority of these is in the case of maybe recent entries to the workforce, or circumstance similar. And then I don't get much reply back from those, so I attempt to help even less often.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on March 26, 2013 at 12:49pm

I've tried it a few times, once got a scathing reply and the rest of the time crickets. Now I just blog about crap that frustrates me. :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on March 26, 2013 at 4:46pm

If i resond at all to those who miss the mark by about 10 miles I send this note back.

Based on a review of your resume for this position i think you may have applied to the wrong position.

Comment by Darren Scotland on March 26, 2013 at 6:33pm

Ha! Cheers for the responses guys - nice to know I'm not going slowing mad!

I actually just responded to a similar blog here:

For me, it's really important to get to back to candidates where ever possible but, like I said in the post, sometimes, after a long day, your patience gets tested!

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on March 27, 2013 at 9:17am

I can't tell you how many times I have writtent that near exact email and never sent it.  I have tried to speak some sense into some candidates, but it usually falls on deaf ears.  I'm so tired of getting resumes with easy misspellings, no qualifications, complete lack of their job description, missing decades, not bothering to even tell me where they have worked, but rather just giving a synopsis of 20 years of work.  I once got a 24 page resume in 48 font emailed to me.  I got a resume with no phone or email info on it??  Just when I think I can't take it anymore, I get a resume that is well written, simple and concise and I revive my hope in humanity

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on March 27, 2013 at 9:18am

Sandra, I love your response, I will start to use that

Comment by Derdiver on March 27, 2013 at 10:19am

This happens more often than not when there are more people and fewer jobs. I know we complain about this but what about an offer to the solution?  I have been toying with the idea of sending links to local schools that offer low price or funded training to help people achieve the objective they are applying for. IE I deal with a great deal of people in Cyber Security.  Even if you have experience my contract requires certifications.  I put this in the advertisement and to no avail I have people respond without them.  My response has been to send a canned email with a link to the local agencies that offer basic certs and explain to KIT when they have gotten one.  In the last months I have been able to proactively place people from previous pools that took my advice. I am not saying this works for everyone but sometimes out of the box thinking is not bad!  

Comment by Kerry Skemp on March 27, 2013 at 2:39pm

I like Derdiver's idea to send links to training courses. I think many people truly just don't "get" it, and giving them a way to learn more is a great response to their misguided application. Of course, those same people who don't "get" it are probably not that likely to take your good advice, so the effort may be wasted in the end...

Comment by Andrew Hanneman on March 27, 2013 at 2:48pm

I have tried to help people, but I often get told i'm wrong or either I get the kiss off for me being nice.  I do respond to everyone and I always will tell them why but I rarely help unless they ask, then I will absolutely give them advice

Comment by Darren Scotland on March 27, 2013 at 5:35pm

I've had a few tell me I should have pressed send on this so guess what, today I did sent something similar to another candiate - and they responded!

Check this out: 

"Hi Darren,

Thanks for the reply. Your 100% correct not harsh, that is the truth about it.

This is the type of reply I have been looking for so thank you. It has steered me off course so I can head in the right direction. I will get back to the drawing board and will be in touch in a couple of months when I have something more solid."

Amazing, eh?! :)


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