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What Not to Do: Blow a Job Application

I’ve been so busy lately it feels like I’ll never get caught up on emails and my other administrative tasks. To that end, I decided to hire a personal assistant. My business is at a level where I feel a personal assistant could free me up to do more work by handling some of my administrative workload. In fact, I missed Workshop Wednesday this week because I’m so overloaded. (I plan to make it up to you with a post this weekend.)

Since I began taking applications for this position (and I’m only looking for a local candidate, so please don’t email and ask if you can do it virtually), I’ve noticed quite a few people taking themselves out of the running from the jump. The biggest offense is not following the directions I put in the ad, which asked that the candidate write in the body of the email a description of their social media knowledge and any other relevant skills. Only 20% of candidates thus far have done this. That immediately eliminated 80% of the applicants. I haven’t even opened their resumes. If you can’t follow simple directions, how can I be confident that you can handle anything I would give you?

As I try and take note of this process from an employer’s perspective so that I can share it with you all, I couldn’t help but relay another situation. Yesterday, I met a lovely young woman working in a clothing boutique. At some point while she was helping me, she asked what I do for a living. Upon hearing about my job, she gushed about how I have her dream job. She expressed her desire to work in this field, so I told her about my open position. When I left the store, she told me she’d email me as soon as she had a break at work.

Twenty-four hours later, I still haven’t heard from her. I’m disappointed, because I really liked this young woman. Now I wonder whether she’s really that passionate about working in sports media. I know if someone in a position I wanted had invited me to email them and apply for a paid position, I would have contacted them almost immediately. I think that’s how you prove you’re passionate about wanting to work in sports, not by saying so in your cover letter. Passion shows through your actions.

Now, maybe this young woman didn’t want to seem overeager (which, I promise you, is not what I would have thought even if she’d emailed me 5 minutes later). Maybe she got hit by a bus after work. I don’t know, but I do know that the seed of doubt has been planted in my head. Is this really what she wants to do?

There are dozens, or hundreds or even thousands of applicants for every position advertised in sports. Be sure you’re setting yourself apart from the crowd – and for the right reasons.

Lessons: read and follow directions, be ambitious, and show your enthusiasm for a position.

About the author

Kristi Dosh Kristi A. Dosh is a sports business reporter and analyst who has reported for such outlets as ESPN, Forbes, Campus Insiders, Bleacher Report and SB Nation. She's also a content marketer, recovering attorney, professor and career coach. Kristi's book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires: How Winning Football Builds Winning Colleges was released in 2013. Find Kristi on Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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