Our partners reveal why they reject applications, and how you can avoid the NO pile when applying for one of our opportunities. FAO those going for the Rizzle Kicks music video experiences, we’ve already tackled stand-outs so make sure you’re not making the below mistakes either:
Mistake #1: Your CV is the length of the world
Amelia Baker, the events assistant at O2, bins any CV over two pages. “Bullet points are good to use instead of huge long blocks of text explaining your sales experience,” she says, adding that a trap many people fall into is wasting huge amounts of space by putting their name in huge text along with their address. “Your address can be all on one line, your name should be a normal size and you don’t need to provide references; just write ‘excellent references available upon request’”. All good advice, especially considering Hannah Brimstone, junior style writer at heat magazine, rejects CVs longer than a page: “Some are ten pages, and not even tailored to the brand.”
Mistake #2: Your cover letter is the length of the world
One A4 side is enough, so save the rambling for country walks (this is a brilliant joke). “Be very specific and talk about what you can bring to the brand. Show you’ve researched what they’ve done before in, for example, events and then add how you would fit in,” advises Amelia. “You can’t create world peace, but you can definitely demonstrate you know how the company works and are interested in that company.”
Mistake #3 Your CV isn’t relevant
Start with your most recent experience and work backwards, editing out anything that doesn’t relate to the job. “Of course it’s nice to see someone’s had a part time job in McDonalds, but you don’t need to write a paragraph about it – just put retail experience. It’s self-explanatory,” Amelia advises. Equally, try and tailor everything to the job in hand, as opposed to including absolutely everything you possibly can. No one needs to know how you looked after your neighbour’s cat for a few hours in 2008 when they nipped out to Tesco. “Change your CV for every job so, if you’re going for an events role and have a lot of sales experience, find the eventsy element of the jobs you’ve been doing and really push them,” she adds.
Mistake #4: You put the wrong name on the application
Showing interest in the company you’re applying for sounds like a given, but too much feedback revolves around putting the wrong bloody name down. I mean, c’mon. (That link is worth clicking, promise).
“Some people say the wrong magazine, or talk about why they love fashion PR [when they're applying to a celebrity journalism brand]” says Hannah. We get it: you’ve been applying for placements all day, the heat one happens to be the last in a long line, and you’ve given up caring anymore. But not checking it through is a total waste of your time – you may as well not apply!
Mistake #5: You don’t appear particularly bothered
If you want to get the placement, you have to show dedication. “A lot of people just generally don’t seem that keen on working for us – last week I chose an application as someone had mocked up a heat interview with her about why she wants the job, and someone else had designed their own heat cover, which was really cool,” says Hannah. It’s this time and effort that impresses, as opposed to sloppy applications; for example, would you hire someone who sounds like they aren’t really that bothered about the company?
“A lot of people we saw didn’t know O2 was owned by Telefónica, which is quite surprising and shows a real lack of interest,” says Amelia. “Of course I look at a CV, but the cover letter is what sells it and, if you haven’t done the research, then you clearly don’t want to work for us that much.”
If you liked this article, why not have a look at:
- How to make your stand-out stand out
- Unconventional job interview tips
- The CV masterclass
- The ultimate guide to cover letters
…then put it into practice when applying for one of the great opportunities we’ve got on the site at the mo!