Over 200 People Applied to be Laurel Touby's Assistant. 200. Think About That for a Minute.

Not only did they suffer the indignity of actually, you know, applying to do Laurel Touby's dirty work, but then they had to be reminded of it in a mass patronizing e-mail she sent out to rejectees. Oh, the indignity:

From: mailer@mediabistro.com (Laurel Touby | mediabistro.com)
Subject: Your Job Application

Hi there!

Some good news and some bad news.

I got a really great response from the Executive Assistant/Office Manager/Light Reception ad I ran on mediabistro.com. Many of you wrote me enthusiastic, ingenious and downright wonderful letters. I appreciate the hard work that went into those (you know who you are).

However, I'm sorry to say you didn't make it to the final short-list. Since I had the opportunity to read through over 200 cover letters and resumes, I thought it might be helpful for me to point out some do's and don'ts for future reference.

DO
—Remember where you saw the ad. It helps if you print out the ad from the site and mark in big letters "MEDIABISTRO.COM" at the top of the page. Some of you named my competitors when applying for a job at my shop. Not cool.
—Show that you know a lot about my company. Use examples of things you really like, initiatives we've taken that you appreciate. We all want to be stroked. [Ew. —Ed.]
—Be enthusiastic and upbeat without being goofy in your letter. There is a fine line.
—Pay attention to the INSTRUCTIONS for the job listing. Too many of you sent attachments when it was quite clear they would not be accepted.
—Give specific examples in your cover letter of how your past experience applies to the job you want.
—Use the person's name (hunt it down, if it's not listed). Never start with "To Whom It May Concern" when you have a name!!
—Use humor carefully, but only when it's funny. This was not: "Why am I perfect for this job? Well, to begin with, I don't have one." This shows immaturity and poor judgement [sic] rather than a sense of humor.
—Use a professional email address. "Hipster101" and "IslandChica" are not cute and hip. Again, poor judgement. [sic]

DON'T
—Apply to every single ad on the site. It shows in your cover letter that you're an indiscriminate candidate with no real desire to work for my company in particular.
—Use stiff, stilted or passive language such as "It is with great interest that I am applying for..." or "With this letter, I would like to express my interest.." Use the active tense instead. Here's an example I liked:

"I'm writing in response to the advertisement for an Executive Assistant/Office Manager/Receptionist posted on www.mediabistro.com. In reading your job description, I can only think that it describes me to a tee! I am very familiar with your website, as I have been using it as a job search engine since relocating to NYC in October. I have added my resume for you to view at the bottom of this email and I feel that it includes all the qualities and meets the criteria that you are searching for." It's warm, it's personal and it's to the point.

—Send anything without triple-checking spelling. I received these variations on my name and the name of the company:

Lauren, Laura
Toby, Tobey, Tauby, Tubby (my personal favorite)
mediatbistro, meda bistro, medibistro, medio bistro

—Lead with your education; instead, lead with your experience. For example, this person lost me at "I graduated from New York University in May 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree." She should have led with her experience, which was buried later in the letter: "My work with the NBA and Extreme Sports Group, as well as my internships at Field & Stream Magazine have given me diverse experiences in a wide range of fields. At the NBA, I gained experience establishing a new..."
—Plead. This response, "Please help me do something useful with my PR major," does not tell me what this person is qualified to do for me!

That's all, folks. Good luck on your job hunt!

Laurel Touby
founder & CEO
mediabistro.com

Ah, if only they'd joined AvantGuild.

Earlier: Thirty People Applied to be Julia Allison's Intern. Thirty. Think About That For a Minute.