We receive a lot of applications at Sketchfab, and to be honest I am disappointed by most of them. I can fairly say that I usually discard 90% of them within 5 seconds.
This is a good opportunity, because it means it is rather easy to be in the 10% :) In a nutshell — beyond all the format issues (the format does matter, it’s the first thing you see) — I am not that interested in hearing about how you’d be a fit for any company and any role. I’m interested in knowing why you are a fit for my company, and for the specific role you are applying to. The most secure way to nail that is to do your homework before applying to a job. Keep in mind that the #1 goal of your first email is to get to the next step, which is an interview.
So, here is a quick list of do’s and don’ts. Some don’ts may seem obvious to most, but I see them on a daily basis.
- Start by “Dear hiring manager” or “Dear sir/madam”. We are a 30 people company, it’s very easy to find the CEO or HR person’s name.
- Put your resume as a .doc, it should be a .pdf
- Put a cover letter. Just say what you need to say in your email body.
- Have a shitty email address (kikoolol email, or with numbers in it, or an email domain like hotmail). Every little counts, and not having a clean or modern email reflects poorly on your professionalism. Think about your email address as being real estate on the internet.
- Not be on twitter if applying for a social media role.
- Have a generic copy and paste email not mentioning my actual company once.
- Tell me you want to join my company because you want to move to NY. Even if that’s the case, just don’t tell me. I want you to be interested in my company, not the city we operate from.
- Send your application in batch in bcc…
- Explain why you are genuinely interested by the company’s mission, and why you’d be a fit for this specific role, as part of this mission.
- Do your homework: show you understand the company’s mission and challenges. Ideally you’ve already identified specific areas that matter to the mission where you could help.
- Icing on the cake: provide some value within your application. Fun story: someone who applied for an internship at Sketchfab mentioned as part of his application for a digital marketing role that our domain name sketchfab.com was expiring in a few weeks. We had somehow missed the notification about it. This was both highly valuable to the company and relevant to the role! He got the internship, and just joined the team as a full time employee.
- Make sure your linkedin has your correct email address tied to it so I can navigator you.
- Update your linkedin profile url to a beauty url (eg linkedin.com/in/albandenoyel)
- Go the extra mile with a 3D resume :)
I remember a hardwired meetup where Bre Pettis explained how he landed his first job (around 7:00 in the video). He essentially said that if you really want a job, the best way to get it is to just do it, until the company has no choice but to hire you: “So many people apply for a job, when you can really just go out and infiltrate organisations and start doing the job until they pay you for it”. I really liked that approach. For me motivation for the role and the company’s mission is my #1 hiring factor, before resume and all.
Another anecdote: as part of my hiring process, I ask every candidate who wants to join our business team (any non-tech role) to create a 3D model and share it with me. This question has 3 merits: see if you are motivated enough to be interested in figuring it out, see if you are smart enough to actually figure out how to do that (and it’s actually very simple), and get you to use the product as a creator, not just a visitor. You’d be surprised at how many people answer that they don’t know how to do that, that they’ve never done any 3D model, and justifying their answer by explaining that the role is not about being a 3D designer anyway. Or people figuring out how to create the model, and then sharing it by email instead of using Sketchfab…
Keep hiring A players as your organisation grows is a real challenge, and I find the passion filter to be a good one.
Oh and by the way, we are hiring :)