Back in May of 2019, I posted a job listing for a graphic design/project manager position for my firm, and the results I got were...well, embarrassing.
Here’s some backstory first:
Every time I post (or repost) a position for employment, I come to expect the applicants who fail at following simple instructions on how to apply for the job.
Previously, my instructions for applying were of the “jump through hoops” kind and designed to weed out serial job appliers and those who don’t pay attention to details. For those who disqualified themselves, I mentally gave them a pass. “They’re average,” I told myself. “I’m looking for above average.”
However, this time, I lowered the bar for qualification to cast a bigger net, thanks to the soaring employment rate. Good for employees, tough for employers.
So, no more jumping through hoops. Just email me your resume with a cover letter. The only requirement was to tell me why you responded to our job posting and why you think you’re a good fit.
I mean, that’s par for the course, right? A customized cover letter that shows me you actually checked out the company and the position. I’m not asking them to do anything they don’t tell you to do at a standard “How to Apply For a Job” seminar.
So…the jobs were up for about 4 days, and this was what I had so far:
- A cover letter made in a standard word file with the basic Calibri 11 pt. font and absolutely NO design (mind you, for a graphic designer job).
- Resumes with typos.
- A guy who said I should hire him because of his race.
- An enthusiastic cover letter full of bubbly excitement that ended with, “I’d really love to learn more about this position!!” (My job posting was 3000 words. Seven Pages.)
- Over 20 applicants who didn’t even attach a cover letter.
I’ve ranted about this before, and every time, I think I’ve seen it all. But every time, I see new lows in the human effort.
I don’t think enough people realize how dangerous this new low is, so I want to make three points about how you can avoid falling into its trap:
1. In Your Marketing
From a marketing standpoint, you always and absolutely want to craft your messages so you connect with your ideal client. And not only that, a strong message should swiftly eliminate those who are not your ideal clients.
It might be hard to say no to non-ideal clients, and even feel discouraging. But trust me, working with a small list of A-class clients is infinitely better than working with a big list of C-class clients.
2. In the Professional World
From a professional standpoint, it doesn’t take much to become a leader or stand out. Most people are average, which I guess is the definition of average. But, these days, for whatever reason, the bar for average is getting lower and lower.
If you ever find yourself doubting your abilities, your worth, or your contribution to the world, stop it. Remember many people will never even dream of reaching the levels you have.
3. In Your Personal Life
From a personal standpoint, the whole equality in success and wealth is the biggest lie ever. I know this concept is exploited by politicians…I don’t care about that. I see the proof with my own eyes over and over again, and it grates me at how people put in minimal effort and then complain when they don’t get success equal to those who put in maximum effort.
I’m all for equality in opportunity, but you ain’t gettin’ a trophy just for showing up and doing what you’re expected to do, what you’ve agreed to do. That’s the ante to play. You get above average success when you perform above average and beyond expectations.
Any time you go above and beyond to perform above the standard that you’re expected to do in any job, you are exceptional — and I appreciate you so much. You give me hope for a bright future for my children and future generations. Don’t ever let anyone or any circumstance tell you otherwise.
Chances are you don’t know how exceptional you really are. Take everything that you’re doing, planning, or thinking, and leverage it for more excellent marketing and positioning in your business.