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Following Application Directions is Job One

Following Application Directions is Job One

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Following instructions and paying attention to details are key elements to doing a job right. It’s simply common sense, right? Well, it seems that those traits are just as important when applying for a job.

Recently, PMA Corporate Member and JEB Commerce Founder, Jamie Birch, posted several jobs and was surprised at the number of potentially qualified applicants who didn’t follow the instructions clearly outlined in the company’s job posting on the PMA Job Board.

Birch took his frustration to Facebook to write a brief open letter to applicants on the consequences of not following directions.

Dear applicants to our job positions – if you can’t read the entire job description and apply in the manner we outline, we will not consider your application.” Birch wrote. “Especially when we outline in the first two sentences that you have to submit a certain way. You see, our application process is really the first step to getting a job here. If you aren’t aware enough to read the details and then follow directions, you simply won’t be successful at JEBCommerce.

He noted his frustration in seeing “more than 15 applications that do not follow simple guidelines such as including a cover letter AND emailing that to the hiring manager.”

So, what happens when you don’t follow the rules? “Usually I do one of two things – hit delete and never look back or I email the applicants and let them know they aren’t considered and why, often times outlining what they should do next time,” Birch said.

In the comments of his Facebook post Birch wrote that one of the email respondents wasn’t pleased with being corrected and tried to argue with him. “I’ve only received one response to that and they guy tried to argue with me that he followed directions when he was interfacing with me, not the person the job posting said to contact. It was pretty funny, we went back and forth four or five times.”

But it is not uncommon for applicants run afoul of specific job application instructions in nearly all industries.

Career experts agree that applicants performing a job search must present themselves in a professional manner and help the company make this process as smooth as possible for all involved. That means following directions.

However, a Forbes article posits that “a lot of ‘professionals’ feel their resume should stand on its own and don’t feel it’s necessary to follow the rules. They are so sophisticated and coveted, the rules don’t apply to them because employers should be banging down the doors to get to them.”

The articles goes on to state that not following applications instructions, “also shows that you only care about what you think is important and don’t feel it’s important to provide what the employer is looking for. The total package candidate for me is someone who is not only skilled and well pedigreed, but can follow directions and seeks to give the employer what they expect.”

So remember, your job application is your first interaction with a prospective employer. Don’t let something as basic as not following instructions be your first impression.

If you are looking for a job in performance marketing or have an open position and looking to hire, check out the PMA’s Job Board. It’s free.

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Lisa Picarille

Online Content Strategist at LisaPicarille.com
Lisa Picarille is an online content strategist focusing on digital marketing, branding, and social media for performance marketing companies. She is the former Content Director for the PMA and teaches Internet Marketing at USF Online. An award-winning journalist, Lisa headed the news departments of Wired.com, TechWeb.com, TechTV.com and CRN.com and wrote for Rolling Stone, CRM Magazine, PCWeek, MacWeek, Computerworld and InfoWorld. Lisa has 3 awards for Performance Marketing Advocacy.

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