This week, Collegewise welcomed our new full-time filmmaker, Frank Martinez, to the family. We got over 70 applications for the position, we narrowed it down to three applicants, and we extended one offer—Frank’s. There are some important lessons that applicants to both jobs and colleges can learn from the way Frank approached this recent hiring process with us. And none of them require that you necessarily know how to capture good footage.
Seek the fit
Frank didn’t apply for a job—he applied for our job (in fact, his former high school guidance counselor reached out to him and recommended he apply). Our job posting, mission, and culture intrigued him. He really felt he could do great work here, and he explained why throughout the application process. It’s entirely possible that Frank was applying elsewhere, too. But every interaction he had with us demonstrated that ours was a gig he wanted. Hiring and college admissions can seem impersonal. And sometimes it can be, especially at the largest institutions. But more often than not, a human being is reading that application, and they’re doing so to find not just the right employee or student, but also the right human being to join the group. The best way to prove that you’re a good match with a company or a college is to start by picking companies or colleges that are actually good matches for you.
Make the effort
It takes effort to seek and communicate the fit. And Frank’s application had effort all over it. He wrote a personal cover letter just for us (a fantastic one, by the way). He’d taken the time to read not just our post, but also our website, many of our blog articles, and our Five tips for job seekers. During our interviews, he had thoughtful questions and ideas that showed just how much time he’d spent learning and thinking about us. I know it’s tempting to treat applying like a numbers game where you hope to improve your odds of winning by simply playing more often. But sending the same impersonal, recycled materials makes you look lazy. Not bothering to follow the application instructions makes you look lazy. Asking questions that are clearly answered with even a cursory review of the website makes you look lazy. Effort, on the other hand, always stands out.
Show your great work
Great filmmakers have a body of work, one that they can share through the wonders of the internet. Frank’s films did more than get my attention. They moved me. They made me want to keep watching and to learn more about the subjects. He didn’t have to talk about his work—he could actually show it to me. Not all applicants applying for jobs—or students applying to college—are doing so in fields where they can post the work itself online. But what could you point to as evidence of your work and its impact? Maybe you created a new training program to bring new employees up to speed? Maybe you rewrote and redesigned the organization’s website? Maybe you ran a fundraiser that got new uniforms for the high school basketball team. When you can point to, post, or otherwise share not just what you did, but also the results of your efforts, you’re likely doing great work and making an impact.
Before Frank started, I asked him to make a short video that we could share on his first day introducing himself to everyone at Collegewise. Creating a short, entertaining video is not a difficult assignment for a great filmmaker. But finding the right tone and approach that will resonate with nearly 50 people, most of whom you’ve never met or even spoken with, on your very first day of work—that is not easy. But Frank took the project on and made something smart, endearing, and just plain good–a video that all the Collegewisers seemed to agree proved that he’ll fit in just fine here. Here it is.
We’re excited to have Frank with us, and as he begins to capture more about Collegewise, I’ll share some of his great work here.