Nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. Of course we sent a ‘thank you’ after we got your résumé, and a follow-up email after we made our decision. But the decision was that you weren’t the right designer for us. Here’s why—in a short, honest, convenient list (with a stupid headline).

  1. You’re a designer but your résumé isn’t designed. If your personal brand is “Times New Roman in a Word doc,” it’s hard for us to imagine you putting much effort into solving difficult problems and creating great things for our clients, when you won’t even do the easy stuff for yourself.
    ↳ SOLUTION:  put some sweat into your f***ing résumé. Design is work—show us you’re not afraid to do it and that you understand the difference between simple and simplistic.
  2. You appear unable to summarize. Your three-page cover letter and four-page résumé aren’t impressive, they’re tedious.
    ↳ SOLUTION:  show us you have the ability to write, edit, and design something compelling that fits on one page.
  3. You made no effort to learn about us. Tremendousness is a pretty specific kind of design firm with some pretty specific open positions. Your generic cover letter and résumé backed by an unfocused project portfolio missed our pretty specific target.
    ↳ SOLUTION:  it’s on you to make a case to us as to why we should be interested in you—even if your previous work doesn’t appear to align with what we do. We like to think we can see potential, but it doesn’t hurt to point out where to look. Do that by customizing your submission a little for the different places you’re applying. Finally, but maybe most importantly…
  4. Your materials had typos, misspellings, errors, and an obvious inattention to details. Whatever we call it, you were sloppy and we just don’t like that. We really don’t liek that. In fact, I just fired myself for the typo in that last sentence.
    ↳ SOLUTION:  have friends and family review your letter and résumé for you. Proofread. Spellcheck. Edit. Align. Kern. Finesse. Then proof it again, and again.

In all seriousness, this isn’t about discouraging anyone from applying. And there are reasons beyond these why you might not be a fit for Tremendousness. I’m just saying that you’ll have a much better chance of standing out if you show us you really care about what you do—that we can count on you to be passionate and simply do a good job. There’s a lot more to being a designer than just how some final product looks.

I know it’s hard finding the right job—or, depending on the economy, any job. At the same time it’s hard for small companies like us to find the right people.

So do yourself (and us) a favor and do this right, because we’d probably love to meet you.