Five days ago we placed a post on craigs list for a virtual office manager / administrator. Since then we have received well over a hundred responses. Many we threw away immediately, others we filed for later. Some merited an immediate response directly from my personal iPhone. So, what was the difference?
I would never have guessed before hand, but it seems like experience had very little to do with whom we chose to interview. So many people were incredibly qualified, we had to turn to other selection criteria.
When we sat down to go through the first wave, Peter & I made three piles : Delighted, Satisfied, Unsatisfied. Then we began to sort.
The Big No-No’s
Go directly to unsatisfied. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Lose 3 Turns.
Here are some things that can make or break your resume:
1) Say hello to us. It’s polite and we like it. It lets us know about you and shows a touch of people skills. After all, you are supposed to represent us to the world. If you send an email with no message at all or “Please consider me for this job, here’s my resume”, then you pretty much got tossed. It feels like you don’t care and we just got spammed.
2) By the 70th resume, if anything was hard to read, you were out of luck. We would like to congratulate Jocelyn Whidden for having the most beautiful (we are a design company), clean, easy to read 1 page resume we have ever seen.
3) Spelling & Grammar are not optional. Have someone proofread the email and resume a few times before you send it. I sympathize as a linguistically challenged chap. That said, one of the primary responsibilities of an admin is to ensure the quality of everything that goes through their office.
4) You MUST include a resume. Sending an email asking if we want to see your resume is … well, enough said.
5) If you already have a full time job, a part time job and just want to squeeze in work into that final hour you have left while you are eating and washing yourself, you might want to be a bit more subtle about it. No one likes to feel like you’re their last priority.
6) It clearly says: Must be willing to drive to Santa Cruz a minimum of once per week. That means if you live in Pennsylvania or India and you respond, we will hold you to it. And no, we won’t pay your gas money.
Moving from Satisfied to Delighted
In the end, it was primarily about presentation, credibility & personality.
1) Three of our nine picks for the first interview round included great letters of reference. And they absolutely made a difference, especially the reference sent by Angela Williams. All of you wish you could get a letter like this one to flaunt. Recommendation Letter (Thanks for letting us post it).
2) All our picks wrote interesting, clear, concise introduction letters that gave us a peek into their personality, where they are coming from, and had a spark of enthusiasm & energy. Your ability to clearly convey a message is at the heart of what you will do for us. Communication is key for a remote team. More than anything, we are looking for someone that matches our culture and way of thinking. The better you show who you are, the easier it is for us to recognize you as our dream admin.
3) An intrinsic sense of organization. Beyond neat and organized. Two of our picks had letters/resumes that screamed a passion for precision. And that is why we are looking for support.
I could probably come up with more (but the call of work is strong in this one). Please let me tell you – this list is not to discourage you. If you are not passionate about detail and your strengths lie elsewhere, just tell us what those strengths are. If you don’t have the reference letter from the messiah himself, so what? I don’t either. This is meant to give you ideas and improve your odds if you haven’t sent in your letter yet. We are so grateful for all your messages and wish we could meet you all personally.
I will definitely add a post later today on how to interview with us.
We look forward to seeing your resume.