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by Kaitlin McManus | January 24, 2019


Shoes Floor Patterns

According to the calendar of the weird, January 25th is Opposite Day. And don’t even try the, “Actually, it’s NOT Opposite Day” nonsense, I’m not having it. Opposite Day has never quite risen above an obnoxious children’s game for me, but I always liked the idea of Topsy-Turvy Day, like in the Hunchback of Notre Dame movie. It’s when people go crazy—when we do all the stuff we’re not supposed to do—just for a day. So, in the spirit of that, I thought I’d go over some things that you should definitely not do on your job hunt (so if you are doing any of the following things, it’s time to do an about face).

*Neither Vault nor I are responsible if you take this dumb advice. Please read any of our other blog posts for actual advice on how to handle various career challenges.*

How to Write a Stellar Resume

Alright, look—you want to work at a company with people who are just as smart as you are, right? Right. But how do you know if the company has smart people working for it? By making your resume something that only a genius can read, that’s how. That way, when they call you up to tell you you’re hired, you’ll know they get you. Some things you might try:

  • Don’t put your name at the top—make them figure out who you are.
  • Use Wingdings. Times New Roman is overdone.
  • Draw them a treasure map on which X marks the spot where you want the interview to be.
  • Write the whole thing as a run-on sentence—it worked for James Joyce in a chunk of Ulysses!
  • Change your text color to white so the page looks blank…to the untrained eye.
  • Write your phone number as a calculus equation.
  • Use pink, scented paper—if it’s good enough to get Elle Woods into Harvard Law, it’s good enough for you.

Don’t let substance weigh down your resume—it’s a rookie mistake.

(For tips on how to really craft a killer resume, check out our blog here.)

Cover Letters and You

You don’t need a cover letter. Why would any hiring professional want a carefully crafted summary of a candidate’s background and how it applies to the specific job? If for whatever reason you feel like wasting your time by writing one, address it to “Dear Sir and/or Madam”—don’t show off your research skills or that you put in time to personalize it. The extra effort just isn’t worth it. And if you really want to save yourself some time on this thing that you shouldn’t even be bothering with in the first place, just go copy-paste a sample cover letter from the internet. You don’t need to change out the company name or your relevant experience. It’s not like HR weeds out candidates by the professionalism, writing quality, and relevant experience conveyed through a cover letter. No one even reads cover letters, so it literally does not matter what you send.

(For advice on how to create a compelling cover letter—which is actually super important in your job search—click here.)

Best-Ever Interview Strategies

The key to any interview situation is being comfortable. So wear something cozy, like sweatpants or your favorite PJ shirt. Forget about trying to impress these people, you should just be yourself—warts and poor hygiene and all. And I know your interviewer said that you were meeting at 2:00, but she’s probably running behind—get there when you get there. You’ll only stress yourself out unnecessarily by trying to be on time or (God forbid) early.

Pro-tip: Chewing gum during an interview is an easy hack to make sure you’ve got fresh breath from start to finish. Smacking and blowing bubbles won’t annoy your interviewer at all—in fact, it shows that you’re an awesome multitasker.

Pro-tip #2: Printing off extra resumes, portfolios, and other documents is a waste of paper. Don’t be a tree-killer just so you can appear prepared and provide your interviewers with the materials they need to consider you for the position.

Now that you’ve gotten the logistics down, let’s talk about the actual interview. First things first—tell them your salary requirements right from the start. Cash is king in business, so get down to brass tacks as soon as humanly possible. Once that’s out of the way, tell them why you want to work at their business—one way to open this discussion is to tell your interviewer about all the bosses and colleagues you hate, and how glad you are to get away from them and all their drama.

Last but not least, at the end of your interview, the person you’re talking to will ask if you have any questions. This is the point where you can clear up some basic stuff: like what the company does, who some of its major clients and customers are, things like that. I mean yeah, you could’ve prepared in advance and looked up all this information on the website—but you’ve been too busy incorporating calculus into your resume and not writing a totally useless cover letter. And getting the company lowdown from an insider shows initiative. Work smarter, not harder.

(Please, please, please don’t show up for your interview hours late or badmouth your old bosses—check out some great interview tips here.)

When all is said and done, you can leave your interview confident that you’ve gotten yourself a brand-new job—go out and celebrate! (Un)Happy Opposite Day!