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How to get the job you want (without annoying the employer in the process)

2 min, 36 sec read
9:30 AM | 24 November 2014
by Justice James
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Have you ever found a job posting that read like it was written for you? You've found the perfect position, at the perfect company to boot? Buzzing with excitement, you frantically get your cover letter and CV prepped to send off ASAP. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal etiquette to the application/interview process. So how can you get that dream job without annoying the employer in the process?

Demonstrate your qualifications

Prove that you and this position are two peas in a pod; that without you, this job (and ultimately the organisation) will suffer unimaginable torment. Tell prospective employers what makes you the ideal candidate. If you have incredibly honed skills or an exceptional personality, make them known! Avoid being presumptuous; saying things that imply the job’s already in the bag is off-putting at the best of times and leaves a sour taste in employers’ mouths. Don’t be cocky; humility can be your best friend.

Proof this works: I applied for a (cheekily written) internship at a top advertising agency. I decided to demonstrate my qualifications in an equally cheeky way (e.g. leadership skills: as a Canadian, I can command a dog sled team like no other). At the time, it seemed rather risky, but they invited me for an interview.

Express your enthusiasm for the job

Show how much you want the job being offered. Employers in the advertising and marketing industries want employees who are passionate about the work they do. This will especially show through your ability to be prompt (answering emails, showing up for interviews, etc.). It is also vital to do your homework on the company in question; not knowing what area the company specialises in is a bad sign.

Proof this works: A prospective employer once told me that I landed a second interview because I had done my research; not just on the company, but on him. During the first interview, I mentioned an article he had posted on his Google+ page about Social Media marketings ROI.


Some employers consider following-up critical, while others abhor it. Unfortunately, an employer’s preference is not usually apparent. Unless the job post suggests otherwise, always follow-up using the “3-strikes” rule. First, include a well-written cover letter with your application. After one-to-two weeks, follow-up to reiterate your interest, mentioning some skills that further qualify you for the job. After another week, send a final email confirming the receipt of your communications. 

Proof this works: I have heard on numerous occasions that employers weed out candidates based on their skills AND how proactive they are in the application process. If you don't follow-up, some take that as an indication of how little you actually want the job.

The most important advice is this: good things come to those who hustle. If you truly want something in life, be prepared to work for it. Good luck!

For more tips on landing the job you want, take a look at our guides area where you'll find advice on all the aspects of applying to jobs, from contacting companies to job interviews.

[Photo: Teymur Madjderey]

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