Posts Tagged “application letter”
It’s much harder applying for communications jobs; not because the application process differs so much from other types of industries, but because an application for a communications job is subject to unusually pronounced scrutiny long before the interview stage.
What do I mean exactly? Well, I’ll share my impressions as someone who has been in search of a comms job in the past few months. Talking up my strengths and talents is not something that comes easily in either a personal or a professional environment. So I often find myself squirming in discomfort as I draft an application. For a start, I feel terribly self-conscious when I expound about my ability to write well. Now, strong writing skills are definite essentials for any worthy communications practitioner, but it just feels so wrong to have to spell it out. Every time I write on this subject (including now), I feel I am opening myself up to extra scrutiny, resulting in eventual professional humiliation. After all, shouldn’t it be clear from what I have already written that I am (or am not) a good writer? I experience this recurring moment of paranoia: what if the person reading my application has one eye-brow raised thinking ‘you call this good writing?’.
Then there is addressing such concepts as ‘creative thinking/approaches’ which makes me cringe as I piece together my application thinking that everything I am saying about my employability is formulaic. And to an extent it is, but I think that there are levels at which the HR people reading our applications have expectations that our CV and cover letters will conform to some sort of standard (I welcome any HR views here) so it just becomes another uncomfortable claim that grates when included, but feels glaringly absent when left out.
Having ‘an ability to meet deadlines’ makes me smile. Meeting an application deadline seems a worthy means of illustrating one’s ability to meet – or not meet – this requirement. (Every time I submit an application I feel I should put a footnote at the base of the application pointing out that I have illustrated my ability to meet deadlines…or, alternatively, “See, I told you so!”.)
But ultimately my worst one is ‘attention to detail’. And this is not simply because for me personally this professional attribute has not come naturally, but has in fact been an acquired skill – following some horrifying post publication discoveries and many years of painstaking double, triple and quadruple checking of copy (confessions of a typo queen). I live in constant fear of my own self-destruction and, even now, writing about this very subject, I have a disturbing metaphorical itch that tells me there is a stray word in this copy or an inelegant expression that will be instantly recognisable to all who read this and completely missed by me. I am groaning as I write this…
But this is the disadvantage of being a comms practitioner. It is a joy and a privilege to be able to write for a living, but as writers and communicators we are subject to an additional burden of expectation. Job hunting puts us on the line. We become vulnerable and exposed as we aim to sell ourselves, our experience, and our talents. And while all jobs seekers share this vulnerability, there is a unique awkwardness experienced by those of us in the business of words and spin.
The aim of this blog is to try to lighten the load a little by providing a forum to share the moment, the pain and the self-consiousness. I look forward to sharing the journey with you.
Marjorie Solomon is the founder of Talking Comms Jobs. She has 15 years communications experience and is not sure if she is a job seeker.