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7 Reasons Your Designer Application Will Be Rejected

/ Tutorials & Advice

Currently, QueryClick are hiring for a junior designer and front-end developer. It’s nice to see applications coming in, and I love people’s enthusiasm when job-hunting. The problem is, so many people seem to be stumbling at the first hurdle. That initial application.

Here are a bunch of real reasons that you’re probably not going to get the job:

1 You didn’t send your CV as a PDF

This is a personal bug-bear of mine. It doesn’t take much to make a PDF file of your CV. It means you can make sure whatever you have typed and designed stays the same as when you put it together, and it also means any fancy fonts you’ve chosen are retained and embedded. Any designer worth their chops will know how to make a PDF file, so this says a lot about your skills profile even before we’ve opened anything.

2 Your CV looks terrible or is too long

This is one of the first things I look at. If your CV is 4 pages long and badly designed (see my previous blog on CV design) I’ll not even bother reading it. If you can’t be concise and clear while listing relevant experience, then you’re probably not right for the job. If you’re writing three paragraphs about your cat-baking skills and how you like to listen to “music” and have “fun” then I’m probably not even going to check your portfolio.

In the same vein, your CV should be focussed. The most relevant information should be front and centre. We don’t need to see your extensive high school qualifications at the top of your CV. Think more about your core skills and any relevant experience. Whatever gymnastics badge you got in primary seven isn’t going to get you the job.

3 You’ve not followed basic instructions

I asked for a link to your portfolio but you’ve omitted this. I asked for your CV, but maybe you’ve not sent it over. This doesn’t bode well for your ability to follow simple, easy instructions. Make sure you can do what I’ve asked, otherwise I’ll likely just disregard your seemingly incomplete application.

4 You’ve made spelling or grammatical errors

You’ve sent me what I’m looking for but managed to spell a bunch of things wrong. This tells me that you’re unable to proof your own work and spot basic mistakes. You’re probably lacking attention to detail. Make sure to re-read your application email, and check your CV for typos. “Desginers” take note.

5 Your portfolio sucks

Remember: You’re only as good as the worst piece in your portfolio. You’ve sent me your stuff and there might be some great work in there, but there’s a couple of stinkers which stick out like a sore thumb. Why not refine your portfolio? I don’t need to see the crappy things you’ve done, just show me the stuff you’re really happy with. Even if it’s only a few excellent pieces, that’s better than loads of distinctly average work.

6 Your skills profile is mismatched

QueryClick is looking for a designer and front-ender, but you’re telling me about how excellent your back-end development and object-orientated skills are. These aren’t really relevant to the position, so why would I hire a designer who doesn’t pride themselves on their design ability?

7 Your letter is weak and predictable

If you’re writing about how excellent your people skills are and how you think your skills profile matches what I’m looking for, then you’ve missed an opportunity to impress me. I’m (perhaps wrongly!) assuming based on your application and your CV that you’ve got the relevant skills. I want to know about you, your drive and why you want to work for QueryClick. Tell us something interesting, maybe flatter us. Show me you’re different to everybody else. Your cover letter should show me how much you want the job.


If you think you can manage to overcome some of these basic hurdles, and you’re interested in working for QueryClick as a junior designer and front-ender, then you can check out the vacancy here.

This post was originally written for the QueryClick blog.

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Alex Cowles

About The Author: Alex Cowles

A largely cynical and often sarcastic designer and front-end developer by day. Unknown international DJ & music producer extraordinaire by night (and at weekends). You probably won't like him.