Resumes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Hello Juniors!

The following post is brought to you by the kind Alex Tuthill. She’s an Account Coordinator and she wrote this awesome post about resumes and wanted me to share it with you all. Hope you enjoy as much as I did. Thank you Alex!

Here it goes:

As freshly-appointed Ad Intern Manager here at Bailey Gardiner, I have recently sorted through my first round of Advertising Account Intern applications. There is no shortage of general resume tips and advice out there, but most of it is very general and not tailored for a creative marketing agency. Working off of Erika’s previous post on PR Internship Tips,  I’d like to share some elements of an advertising resume that have been dazzling… along with some red flags that may be grounds for disqualification:



• Professionalism + Creativity

Any applicant that can present themselves on paper in a professional manner while highlighting their creative thinking is someone that will likely be getting through the door for an internship interview. Being creative does not mean using magenta Comic Sans font or drawing a picture at the bottom of the page; it means setting yourself apart in the way that you write about yourself. Mixing in personality and a unique perspective within a document that is meant to be bland and generic makes me think that this person is a creative problem solver that would fit well within an agency.

Best example of mixing professionalism with creativity: Our Summer 2011 Intern Michael’s first blog post about his “Advertising Development.” As a psychology major with an interest in the advertising industry, he introduced himself on our blog by creatively framing his experience in advertising through psychological stages. This kind of out-of-the-box thinking and fresh perspective is exactly what we look for and can really set an applicant apart from the beginning.

• Opportunity to find out more

If an applicant submits the standard one-page cover letter and one-page resume, I love having the opportunity to find out more about them. An online portfolio or blog URL will always get visited and can have a tremendous amount of weight for getting an interview. Even if you are not an Adobe Suite or web whiz, you can still showcase your personality, work experience, interests, or class projects. An online component to an application makes me think that applicant is ambitious, creative, and resourceful.

Best examples:

1. A great online portfolio by USC graduate Jen Winston, and 2. Recent Duke graduate Christine Hall had such a unique online portfolio that she was mentioned on AdAge and AdWeek for her creative approach to job hunting.


• Cookie Cutter Templates

Using a standard template for a resume or cover letter may be a shortcut and a sure-fire way to do it correctly, but it is as tacky as showing up to the party wearing the same outfit as the person next to you. When there are twenty resumes spread out on the desk, and ten of them look exactly the same, I usually pay more attention to the unique ones. If you want to get into a creative agency, it is worth paying your graphic design friend from class $20 to lay out a couple of simple but well-designed resume options for you.

• Unprofessional Email Addresses

Using an email address that is anything other than a variation of your name, initials, and a few numbers is not the ideal image of professionalism. Although it may not be a huge deal for an internship, it’s small details like this that question an applicant’s attention to detail and overall professional appearance.


• Errors.

It is hard to believe, but I have received a handful of applications with glaring mistakes. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, formatting – you name it, it’s been done wrong. As a team member at any level in a communications firm, a superhuman attention-to-detail is a top priority. It is a policy that any error on an application means automatic disqualification, no matter how charming and impressive a person’s content or experience. When you are applying for anything, have your roommates, friends, classmates or professors read through your materials and provide edits and suggestions before you submit – it could be the small amount of effort that gets you in the door rather than the disqualification pile.

There are so many factors in the application process that have nothing to do with experience and content of materials – a lot of the important things are following directions, attention to detail, and showcasing yourself as a dedicated creative professional.

Are they any other great tips on resumes and cover letter that I didn’t cover? What is that key part of an applicant’s materials that makes you stop and go “Woah, we have to have this person!”

You can read the original post here.




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