Avoiding the Dreaded Rejection Letter

Sarah Davis

Sarah Davis

Let us begin by saying thank you for your interest in Trozzolo. We know that our application is not for the faint of heart so the fact that so many of you have already applied or are thinking about applying really means something to us.

The No. 1 question we get asked by potential interns is, “How do I break through the clutter?” To shed some light on this age-old question, we wanted to take this opportunity to teach you about our process. Perhaps this will help a few of you get our or another agency’s attention.

To be 100 percent honest, we look for reasons to put you in the “no” pile. Not because we feel like it or because we are mean, but because we want to spend our time focused on the candidates who might have what we are looking for. There are five rounds to our process.

Round 1 – We skim your résumé for the following:
– Spelled Trozzolo right.
– Free of typos.
– Submitted a complete application.
– Addressed the application to the correct company.
– If there is an objective listed, it mentions something our company does.

I know that more than one of you reading this is saying “Well, duh!,” but you would be surprised how many people get knocked out of the running in round one.

Round 2 – We look more thoroughly at what is listed on your résumé and skim your brand essay. We look for the following:
– What year you are in school.
– Previous internships.
– Involvement in school and community.
– If you are a designer, we look at your portfolio.
– Brand essay is clear of typos and has original thoughts.

We want the best and brightest; therefore, past experience, involvement and your ability to articulate who you are matter. Those who have all three move on to the next round.

Round 3 – We do a detailed review of résumé, portfolio and essay. This is where we get really super-duper picky. This is where we decide who gets an interview and who gets thrown into the “no” pile.

We pit résumés and portfolios against each other. We ask, who has the experience or design aesthetic we are looking for? Who has the talent that would be a good fit for our agency?

We read the brand essays again – and in more detail. What essay grabbed us and left us wanting more?

Oh and then we stalk you on social media … you knew that was coming!

The people we select to interview have the following:
– Experience via internships or school activities that match what we do.
– A brand essay that showed personality, spunk and creativity. Hint on this: Not one of the interns we selected last year said they were Google, Apple or Nike. That is a tad too cliché.

Round 4 – The interviews. We look for candidates who:
– Have a personality that matches or clicks with ours.
– Are self-starters who are hardworking and hungry.
– Answer the tough questions with ease.
– Have questions for us.
– Do their homework on Trozzolo.
– Bring their “A” game to the interview.

The interviews are, as we say, “where the rubber meets the road.” We want to make sure you are not just great on paper. Those who come in eager to learn about the company and show us how they could fit in here are the ones that get to the selection process.

A few no-nos to touch on quickly –
– Don’t leave your cellphone on. In fact, don’t bring it in!
– Don’t come unprepared. Please bring in your résumé and work samples.
– Don’t say you want to work in an industry that we don’t touch on.
– Don’t forget to follow up!

Round 5 – The selection.

From there we pick our top three, run the portfolios and résumés by the management team and then make the offers.

Please use this advice as an opportunity to review your materials and approach. You might notice a typo or rethink your interview strategy. It will make you better … and you will have a better chance at getting that internship or job you are pursuing.

And know this, for several of you, there will be nothing wrong with what you submit or your interview. Someone was just a better fit. Keep trying!

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