Remote working can be a total blessing or a horrible curse. Now that working from home is truly the ‘new normal’ in a post-COVID world – why don’t we talk about how to absolutely NAIL the hybrid/remote work life?
You snooze, you lose
Although you can easily take that extra 30 minute snooze time in the morning now that your travel time is non-existent, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to wake up 10 minutes before 9 to start working immediately after getting dressed. Start your day by waking up at the same time you would going to the office to keep your biological clock from malfunctioning. Get yourself some tea/water/coffee and take a few minutes to take in that vitamin D from the morning sun.
Separate your work and private life
If you haven’t already, create an office space or corner. It’s a very common pitfall to continue for another hour once your workday is done, since you’re already home. But keep in mind that your mental health and time to unwind are just as important as doing your job right. In fact, keeping the right balance between work and rest ensures you’re able to keep rocking your job for a long time. One way to help you separate the two is to create an office space. See if your employer is able to provide an ergonomic chair. If that’s not available, create a space at the (dining) table to set up a more ‘office’ type of space. Whatever you do, don’t work from your bed or couch to keep your brain from being unable to separate work from relaxation (yes, it really does that).
Flexibility is a big plus
Working from home might be even more flexible than the yoga guru next door. Depending on the company culture – you can choose where you’d like to work (bring in those fancy iced lattes), you can play a little more with your outfits (at least below the waist) and you might even be able to start and end your day later (or earlier). Focus on your way of working that is best for you and go about it! Apps like TrackingTime can help you find out which hours are most productive for you, so you can schedule difficult tasks during these hours and organize meetings around them.
Set goals for your day
It might sound silly, but setting goals for your day helps you define (grossly) what your day might look like and keeps you from working unnecessary overtime. Make a list of things you’d like to accomplish that day and estimate how much time each task will cost you so you have a realistic to-do-list.
We’ve probably all seen memes go around the internet of people Zooming their colleagues and unwillingly flashing their Spongebob boxers to the entire staff in the process. It might depend on where you’re employed, but generally speaking that isn’t a great impression to give off. Next to that, a little psychology tells us you’re able to deliver high quality work when you feel good about yourself. Decide which look does that for you (and fits the company culture) and go for that.
Give yourself a break
Without group lunches it’s easy to skip your lunchtime and in-between breaks. You already know what we’re going to say: don’t! Grab a coffee with a nearby friend, do some grocery shopping, sit in the sun, read a book: anything that takes you away from your screen and possibly even into the fresh air. Working from home isn’t easy breezy for everyone, so if you’re having a hard time – give yourself a few extra breaks and take some ‘tens’ (ten minute breaks) during the day. If it helps: set a timer so you really have to take your break when it goes off.
Take one for the team
Depending on your home situation, working remotely can be isolating. If you’re responsible for a team (or are part of one): suggest a weekly (online) gathering, Friday afternoon drinks, lunch, breakfast: anything that brings people closer to the team and the company helps take away any feelings of isolation and reminds them they’re part of something great. Next to that, it can help keep your team (and yourself) motivated.
If you have a family or roommates living with you it can be difficult to keep your focus. Share your schedule with your household and schedule in some time to check in with them during the day. This way they won’t disturb you unnecessarily and know when you’re going to be available to them.
It’s all about energy
One thing you should not forget about is compensation. Energy costs are at a high right now, and if you’re working from home a lot, you’re the one paying for it whilst your employer might’ve paid for those costs if you were working at the office. So if there isn’t already a plan in place, ask your employer to create one to compensate for any costs you might not have at the office.
The right soundtrack
While you’re at it: the right music has proven to boost your work speed and performance. Sounds good, right? That’s why playlist company Streaming Queen created an amazing Spotify playlist for you to rock to: https://spoti.fi/3vBkxjb
At the end of each work day, create a routine as well. A morning routine is well heard of, but what about an evening routine? Preparing yourself for work is just as important as telling your brain your working hours are done. Do something you can do every day that signals your body and mind that you’re now going to relax. Taking the dog for a walk, putting on a podcast, playing with your children: it can be anything. Do try to make it a no-screen activity so you can really unwind for a bit.
And that marks not only the end of the ‘work day’, but also the end of our latest blog post. Sharing = caring, so feel free to send your team and colleagues our tips to upgrade their remote working sitch. Questions? We’re open to chat, hit us up!
Working with a recruitment agency can mean all the difference. For both candidates and clients. How exactly? For your convenience, we’ve listed a ton of advantages in our latest infographic. Check it out below and feel free to contact us for more information.
Freelancing is something that’s grown to be more popular over the years. And as working from home becomes increasingly popular as well, that is no surprise. Let’s kick this door in right away, because what does it mean to be a freelance worker? What do you need to be aware of? And when are you part of traditional employment? Believe it or not, the line between the traditional employment and freelancing can be very thin. Fear not: we’re here to explain everything you need to know about being a freelancer.
What is freelancing?
Let’s start with something that might seem obvious: freelancing is a flexible form of employment in which you can take on assignments and carry them out on your own. However, what you probably didn’t know is you’re pretty special as a freelancer: freelancing is not specifically mentioned in the law. Agreements that freelancers enter into are often equated with an agreement for services (Art. 7:400 of the Dutch Civil Code). When it comes to delivering work of a material nature (e.g. creating clothing), you can speak of a building contract (Art. 7:750 of the Dutch Civil Code). Both of these forms of employment are different from a traditional employment contract.
How, exactly? We’re happy to explain below:
Entering into an agreement in which you must deliver a service or product does not automatically mean that there is an employment relationship. There are four requirements in order for your work to be labeled as employment1:
First, there must be a personal obligation to the work you’re carrying out. This means that you yourself are obliged to work and that you aren’t allowed to have someone else do that work for you.
Second, there must be an obligation to pay wages. The company you are going to work for is obliged to pay you your agreed upon salary for your work.
Third, there must be a relationship of authority. In general, this means that an employee is obliged to follow instructions from the employer. This doesn’t necessarily mean that actual directions or instructions are given. This third factor mainly discusses the extent to which an employer supervises and can give instructions or directions to an employee and the extent to which an employee must comply with them. As a freelancer, you’re mostly in charge of that yourself. Another indication of this relationship is outward appearance. This means that it appears to the outside world that there is a relationship of authority by means of company clothing, for example.
Finally, the employee must perform work for a certain period of time. This requirement is often disregarded because it is met quite quickly.
If it needs to be determined whether you currently hold an employment contract or a freelance assignment with one of your clients, the ‘unless’ approach is often used. For example: in case of X/Gemeente Amsterdam it was ruled that the original intentions of the parties no longer play a role in the qualification of an agreement.2 The original intentions might have been for it to be a freelance assignment, but the actual work and relationship eventually became more employment based. If the contents of an agreement meet the legal requirements mentioned above, it is an employment agreement, unless it turns out that one of the requirements is lacking in practice.3 As in the case of freelancing, this often concerns the absence of a relationship of authority.
Freelancing as a ‘disguised’ employment contract
Freelancing usually doesn’t create an employment relationship. This is often evident from the wording of a freelance agreement. However, it is possible that an employment relationship gradually shifts. In 2005 it was ruled that there was an employment relationship between a freelancer for a TV program and his client B, because the freelancer had to fit into the organizational framework created by B and because the freelancer had to explain his work from time to time.4 Despite the two parties initially agreeing on freelance work, there was actually an employment relationship.5
There are also cases in which there appears to be a relationship of authority, when in fact there is not. For example, in 2020, it was determined that the contract of engagement concluded between a management agency and a maid group did not create an employment relationship. The detailed instructions given by the management agency did not detract from the fact that both parties were allowed to give their input to make performances successful.6 Meaning: there was no relationship of authority here and thus no employment contract.7
It’s clear that what was agreed between two parties doesn’t automatically make this true for the law. And relationships, agreements and requirements can shift in time and thus create changes in whether or not you’re employed or a freelancer. But what difference does it make? Well, as an employee you have different rights than you’d have if you were a freelancer. “What are those differences?”, we can almost hear you ask. We’ll explain below.
What should you pay attention to as a client?
As a client, it is important that you are aware of the employment relationship you have with a freelancer. The actual situation may differ from what was agreed in an agreement. Pay particular attention to the relationship of authority when signing a freelance agreement. If the factual situation indicates that there is an employment contract, the freelancer can rely on other rights, including your duty of care as an employer or reimbursement of his or her medical expenses. It already helps tremendously if, whilst signing a contract, you both have a clear picture of what is expected of each other. And, as your agreement progresses, don’t forget to check in every once in a while to see if you still meet the right requirements and the situation hasn’t shifted into employment.
What should you watch out for as a freelancer?
As a freelancer, you have different rights than you would as an employee. After all, you work for yourself and cannot simply invoke employer obligations or benefits. Pay close attention to what was agreed beforehand and look at the actual effect of it. For example, the agreement may tacitly change into an employment contract while this is not the intention, which can lead to negative consequences for both parties. Also, be sure to look into the rights you can invoke in case a conflict arises.
New developments, such as platform employment, have led to discussions about the modernization of the concept of ‘employer-employee relationship’. According to the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, Deliveroo and Helpling platforms are a kind of digital employers.8 9 Given their activities and roles, they meet the legal requirements of employment.
In order to keep up with these developments, the European Commission is working on a directive for being an employer in the platform economy.8 9 The aim of this is to allow freelancers working on platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber to have the same entitlements as salaried employees.10 It is therefore expected that freelancers with platform employers will enjoy broader legal protection within the European Union in a few years.
We hope you learned a thing or two about being a freelancer and what key factors are for you to pay close attention to. Have any questions left? Don’t hesitate to contact us. See you next time!
About Sem: Sem Bakker is an attorney at Backstage Legal and has extensive experience advising and litigating in the areas of labor law, intellectual property law and privacy and regularly works for clients in the music industry. Sem is also active as a board member in the Popcoalitie and as a musician. Under the name Six Def he makes tracks that are regularly used for American series such as Californication and Suits. Starting in the mid-1990s, Sem was active for over ten years as a bass guitarist and composer in the guitar band Caesar. Caesar released four albums, won a Silver Harp, and performed widely at home and abroad, including at festivals such as Lowlands and Pinkpop.
Wat is freelancen?
Freelancen is een flexibele arbeidsvorm waarbij je opdrachten kan aannemen en deze op eigen houtje kan uitvoeren. Het is bovendien een bijzondere arbeidsvorm, omdat het in de wet niet specifiek zo is genoemd. Overeenkomsten die freelancers sluiten worden vaak gelijkgesteld aan een overeenkomst van opdracht (art. 7:400 BW). Wanneer het gaat om het leveren van werk van stoffelijk aard, dan spreekt men van een aannemingsovereenkomst (art. 7:750 BW). Deze twee arbeidsvormen zijn anders dan een traditioneel dienstverband.
Het sluiten van een overeenkomst waarbij je een prestatie moet leveren betekent niet gelijk dat sprake is van een dienstverband. Hiervoor zijn vier vereisten1:
Ten eerste moet sprake zijn van een persoonlijke arbeidsverplichting. Dit komt erop neer dat jijzelf verplicht bent tot arbeid en dat je het werk niet door een ander mag laten doen.
Ten tweede moet sprake zijn van een loonbetalingsverplichting. Degene voor wie jij gaat werken is verplicht om jou loon te betalen voor jouw werkzaamheden.
Ten derde moet sprake zijn van een gezagsverhouding. Over het algemeen betekent dit dat een werknemer verplicht is aanwijzingen te volgen van de werkgever. Het is hierbij niet noodzakelijk dat daadwerkelijk aanwijzingen of instructies zijn gegeven; je moet vooral kijken naar de mate waarin een werkgever toezicht heeft op en instructies of aanwijzingen kan geven aan een werknemer en de mate waarin een werknemer daaraan gehoor moet geven. Een andere aanwijzing is uiterlijke schijn. Dit betekent dat het naar buiten toe lijkt alsof er een gezagsverhouding is d.m.v. bedrijfskleding bijvoorbeeld.
Ten slotte moet de werknemer werkzaamheden gedurende een zekere tijd verrichten. Deze eis wordt vaak buiten beschouwing gelaten, omdat er vrij snel aan is voldaan. Het houdt simpelweg in dat de arbeid tijd kost.
Bij de vaststelling of het om een opdracht- of arbeidsovereenkomst gaat, wordt doorgaans een tenzij-aanpak gehanteerd. In de zaak X/Gemeente Amsterdam is geoordeeld dat de oorspronkelijke bedoelingen van partijen geen rol meer spelen bij de kwalificatie van een overeenkomst.2 Als de inhoud van een overeenkomst voldoet aan de bovengenoemde wettelijke vereisten, is sprake van een arbeidsovereenkomst, tenzij blijkt dat een van de vereisten in de praktijk ontbreekt.3 Het gaat, zoals bij freelancen, vaak om het ontbreken van een gezagsverhouding.
Freelancen als ‘verkapt’ dienstverband
Freelancen brengt in beginsel geen dienstverband tot stand. Dit blijkt vaak ook uit de verwoording van een freelance overeenkomst. Toch kan het zijn dat er gaandeweg wel een dienstverband ontstaat. In 2005 is geoordeeld dat sprake was van een gezagsverhouding tussen een freelancer bij een tv-programma en zijn opdrachtgever B, omdat de freelancer zich moest invoegen in door B geschapen organisatorisch kader en omdat de freelancer van tijd tot tijd zijn werkzaamheden moest toelichten.4 Ondanks de overeenkomst was er eigenlijk sprake van een arbeidsverhouding.5
Er zijn ook gevallen waarin er een gezagsverhouding lijkt te zijn, terwijl dit niet zo is. Zo werd in 2020 bepaald dat de overeenkomst van opdracht gesloten tussen een managementbureau en een meidengroep geen dienstverband tot stand bracht. De gedetailleerde instructies die het managementbureau gaf deden niet af aan het feit dat beide partijen hun inbreng mochten geven om optredens tot een succes te maken.6 Er was hier geen gezagsverhouding.7
Het kan dus goed zijn dat er sprake is van een dienstverband, ondanks dat dit niet is afgesproken. Sterker, indien er in de overeenkomst van opdracht wordt bepaald dat partijen geen arbeidsovereenkomst willen, heeft dat geen effect. Dit verschil is wel belangrijk, omdat je als freelancer andere rechten hebt dan als werknemer.
Waar moet je op letten als opdrachtgever?
Als opdrachtgever is het belangrijk dat je je bewust bent van de arbeidsrechtelijke verhouding die jij hebt met een freelancer. De feitelijke situatie kan namelijk afwijken van wat er in een overeenkomst is afgesproken. Let vooral op de gezagsverhouding bij het tekenen van een freelance overeenkomst. Als de feitelijke uitwerking erop duidt dat er sprake is van een arbeidsovereenkomst, kan de freelancer zich op andere rechten beroepen, waaronder jouw zorgplicht als werkgever of het vergoeden van zijn of haar ziektekosten. Het helpt al enorm als je tijdens het tekenen van een contract allebei een helder beeld hebt van wat van elkaar wordt verwacht.
Waar moet je op letten als freelancer?
Als freelancer heb je andere rechten dan een werknemer. Je werkt namelijk voor jezelf en je kunt je niet zomaar beroepen op werkgeversplichten. Let goed op wat er van tevoren is afgesproken en kijk naar de feitelijke uitwerking daarvan. Het kan bijvoorbeeld zijn dat de overeenkomst stilzwijgend overgaat op een arbeidsovereenkomst terwijl dit niet de bedoeling is, hetgeen voor beide partijen tot negatieve gevolgen kan leiden. Zorg er dus voor dat je je bewust bent van de rechten waar jij je op kunt beroepen voor het geval een conflict ontstaat.
Samengevat is freelancen is dus iets anders dan het hebben van een dienstverband; er ontbreekt vaak een gezagsverhouding. Toch kan het zijn dat de feitelijke uitwerking van een overeenkomst erop duidt dat er juist wel sprake is van een dienstverband.
Door nieuwe ontwikkelingen, zoals platformwerkgeverschap, zijn er discussies ontstaan over de modernisering van het begrip ‘gezagsverhouding’. Volgens het Hof Amsterdam zijn de platforms Deliveroo en Helpling een soort digitale werkgevers.8 9Gezien hun werkzaamheden en rollen voldoen ze in principe aan de wettelijke vereisten.10 Om deze ontwikkelingen bij te blijven is de Europese Commissie bezig met een richtlijn voor werkgeverschap in de platformeconomie. Het doel hiervan is om freelancers die werken op platforms als Deliveroo en Uber dezelfde aanspraken te laten krijgen als werknemers in loondienst. Naar verwachting zullen freelancers met platformwerkgevers dus in een aantal jaar binnen de Europese Unie een bredere rechtsbescherming genieten.
Over Sem:Sem Bakker is advocaat bij Backstage Legal en heeft ruime ervaring met het adviseren en procederen in de rechtsgebieden arbeidsrecht, intellectueel eigendomsrecht en privacy en werkt regelmatig voor cliënten uit de muziekindustrie. Sem is ook actief als bestuurslid in de Popcoalitie en als muzikant. Hij maakt onder de naam Six Def tracks die regelmatig gebruikt worden voor Amerikaanse series zoals Californication en Suits. Sem was vanaf midden jaren negentig ruim tien jaar actief als basgitarist en componist in de gitaarband Caesar. Caesar bracht vier albums uit, won een zilveren harp en trad veel op in binnen- en buitenland, waaronder op festivals als Lowlands en Pinkpop.
Let’s face it: job interviews are always tensive, even if they’re fun. However, knowing that you’re well prepared takes a big part of any tension away. It’s a good thing you have us: the last part of our Ultimate Application Guide is all about everything you need to do to land that job in your next interview.
But let’s start with a big disclaimer: we’re not really a fan of the words ‘job interview’. It’s more like a conversation and we recommend you treat it as such. Not only the hiring manager needs to find out if you’re the right fit for the role and company, so do you. Even if you want this job very badly: relax, sit back (but don’t slouch) and enjoy the talk. And if you like what you hear during the interview, here’s a few tips on how to ace it on your part:
Research is where it all begins
Yourself. The company. The job. The industry. Rocking a job interview starts with research.
Are you switching industries to the *insert halo sound* creative industry? Get to know the industry a bit: ask questions to our recruiter Pieter about how certain companies and roles work. Don’t forget about the actual field that revolves around your role as well. That might be the publishing industry, promotion, communications, administration: there’s tons of categories within the creative industry that all work together to keep everything afloat.
Research yourself. Wait… Yourself? Yes. What would the hiring manager want to know and what are concerns they might have after looking at your resume? Write these questions down and practice your answers. For instance: if they’re looking at your resume and see you’ve worked at several companies for two years or under, they might assume you’re a job hopper. Explain yourself in a positive way. If you find it difficult to pinpoint your strengths and improvements: ask your friends, family or previous managers about their opinion.
Research your interviewers, other employees, important company accomplishments or challenges and write them down. These say a lot about the company culture so it helps you decide if you think you’d be a good fit. Next to that, if you’re asked to sell yourself you can potentially relate your skills and experience to your interviewers’ background, challenges the company is facing and tell the hiring manager how you’d contribute to that if you’re hired.
Read the job description thoroughly and list examples of how you’ve acquired each skill that’s asked for. This works very well if you’re switching to a new role or industry specifically – but is recommended to use in any interview. Next to that, the technique you’ve used to research yourself also works with the job description. For instance: if you’re applying for a role as Streaming/Playlist Manager at a record label, they might ask you to list how you create playlists, how you maintain relationships with stakeholders and so on. Ask yourself what the job entails and what they might want to know about that. What might help: underline what seems to be important to the employer in the job description. Then think of examples to show how you’ve acquired those skills. If you’re applying for a more senior role, the hiring manager might want to learn more about your strategic and leadership skills. Think of examples where you added value on a strategic level or where you excelled showing your leadership skills.
Before you go in
Okay, you’re all set up. Just a quick checklist to see if you’re bringing everything with you to the interview before you walk out that door:
Your resume and cover letter. Digitise (be kind to the environment) or print these to bring along. Highlight skills and examples in your resume or cover letter so you can easily refer to them and the interviewer can find them within a single glance.
A notebook. Writing down talking points can not only help you look professional, it also gives you insights on pros and cons of the job and company so you can decide if this is the right fit for you after the interview.
Your best outfit. Maybe you’ve already taken some notes when you were doing research, but make sure your outfit matches the company you’re applying to. What do employees wear? Adapt accordingly.
Look at your research, resume and cover letter just moments before the interview. This puts you in a more heightened state and makes you energetically ready for the interview. Ready, set, go!
Alright, you’re here. Interview day. During the interview, there’s a few things to keep in mind – starting with body language. Looking out the window, glancing at your feet, sitting like a shrimp: they’re all not great impressions you’re giving the hiring manager. Sit actively, make eye contact and smile whenever it feels right (you don’t want to look like you’ve slept with a hanger in your mouth). Are you more introverted? Don’t worry! You can still make it look like you’re excited about this by actively engaging in your own way. People feel positive energy.
Be honest about your wants and needs
This might be the best advice we can give you. If you play picture perfect and in the end neither you or the company you’re working for are happy, we’re unhappy too. Being honest and authentic always leads to the best long term results. As an intermediary we’re trying to find the right person for the role instead of convincing you how amazing our client is. So, we’re always honest about the role, salary, company culture, hours and more. To find the right match and to make you happy it’s important you’re honest as well. Tell us what you want your day to look like, if you want to work from home, your dream manager’s personality, anything. It’s important for the hiring manager to know what you’re looking for and to speak their mind on what they are in turn looking for.
If it doesn’t turn out to be the right match, no worries: with your permission we’ll have your data on file so we can get back in touch if we do find a match. And yes, we actually do get back in touch if we are consulted for something that might suit you.
Take a moment to answer
You might be nervous, but remember this is a conversation. You’re allowed to think before you speak. Try this as a technique: answer in summary first – then expand. This gives you an extra few seconds to think about what you’d like to say in detail. For instance: if the hiring manager asks you to give an example on how you cope with setbacks, summarize the question, then answer shortly, then expand. Do try to only use this for difficult questions so you avoid sounding too rehearsed.
If asked for examples, name more than one. It vows well for you if you can really show the hiring manager with multiple examples that you’ve really got that asked for skill down. On that note, always show, don’t tell. Firstly, make sure your selling point is clear. Then give a few real life examples that confirm your selling point.
It’s all about the ‘why’
A job interview isn’t just about selling yourself. If you’re really looking to land this job or are excited to work at the company you’re applying to, this should be amazing to you too. You get to talk to the people working a really cool job at your dream company. Enjoy the conversation, show your interest and especially: excitement. Tell them what excites you about this role and the company. What skills would you like to learn in this next step in your career? What do you think would be your favorite part of working in this role? What are you eager to learn from working at this company?
When crickets turn to the stage
If you don’t know how to do something or answer a question correctly: connect it to something you do know. Tell the interviewer honestly that you haven’t been through that exact experience, but tell them a similar thing you’ve done that proves you’d be good at it. It might be obvious, but never lie. It puts you and your future employer in a bad position when you get asked to do it.
Always ask questions
Yes, you’ve made it! This is the end of your interview, and the interviewer asks if you have any questions. And you do. You always do. It isn’t a good look if you don’t have any questions ready. Examples you can use:
What do my day to day activities look like?
What are opportunities for personal development within this company?
What departments and stakeholders will I be working with?
What are the next steps in the hiring process?
Did you enjoy the interview and do you see yourself working at this company? Then before you go: tell them you’re interested in the position and company and explain briefly why you’d be a great fit based on what you learned today. If you express your excitement, the hiring manager might be more interested in sending you an offer than someone who’s just as qualified but didn’t show as much enthusiasm.
Send a ’thank you’
The aftermath of the interview is almost just as important as the preparation and the actual interview. Shortly after (24 – 48 hours) send the interviewers an email thanking them for their time and quickly review what you talked about. Is there something you forgot to tell? This is your moment to take away some last doubts and show your interest one last time.
That’s it! After reading all three parts of our Ultimate Application Guide, we think you’re ready to go get that dream job of yours. Stay tuned if you’re hungry for more, soon we’ll be picking 10 of the most difficult questions in interviews and show you how you can answer them perfectly. We’ll even address the infamous “Tell me about yourself” question. ‘Till next time!
The first part of our Ultimate Application Guide tells you all about creating the perfect resume for the creative industry. Now that you’ve got that down, let’s take a look at your cover letter. Here’s some good news to start off right: you don’t have to be a Pulitzer prize winner to make this work. With our tips and tricks in the second part of our Application Guide, you’ll have it ready to be ‘shipped’ in no time. Read along, won’t you?
Press play on our playlist
Before you start putting pen (or keyboard) to paper, how about some music, huh? Research shows people perform better and work faster when they’re listening to music. That’s why we’ve created a Spotify playlist with amazing Tunes To Rock Your Business. Press play and let’s go.
Research and adapt
Always start from scratch. It might be an obvious note, but recycling older cover letters isn’t a great first impression. It’s ok to use certain information from previous letters you’ve written, but always do your research about the company to find out what tone to use to fit the company culture and write a new letter with that information at hand. Include your research in the actual text as well. Show that you know what challenges the company faces or accomplishments they’ve achieved and tell the hiring manager how you’d contribute to that in your role or share a similar situation from your past experience. Show that you know how to add value to both this role and company instead of just expressing your desire to work here, or what your past experience is.
Contact the recruiter or hiring manager
Got any questions? It vows well for you if you ask something smart to the recruiter or hiring manager before sending your cover letter. Get in touch with them. You’ll have personal contact, so they already have a feeling about you that might help you stay top of mind. Next to that, you can refer to your conversation at the start of your letter by saying that you spoke to this person and thank them for their input. Don’t forget to address the letter to their name as well. It’s very personal and shows you’re well connected – that’s incredibly important in the creative industry’s small world. You can mention people you know at the company as well. Keep in mind that these need to be people you’re well connected with, so it doesn’t backfire if they don’t remember you or find it odd to be included in your letter.
However, if you know 10-15 people at the hiring company, we don’t need a list of all these names. Stop showing off! 😉
Start off strong
Yes, there is such a thing as an opening line for recruiters. Starting off with a surprising first line sets you apart. Since recruiters are reading a lot of cover letters in a day, not starting with your name, where you’re from and what job you’re applying for is the greatest gift you can give a recruiter on that day. Instead, start by saying what you’d like to contribute to the company you’re applying to in your new role and why this is exciting to you. Make sure it’s relevant though! Don’t start with describing your love for cats if you’re not applying for a role at a cat shelter.
Focus on the future
We don’t need a red light / green light debacle, this one’s easy: listing your job history as your cover letter is a big no-no. We can read your previous jobs, tasks and derived skills in your resume. What we do want to see is what experience and skillset make you the ideal candidate for the job you’re applying for. However, keep the letter focused on the future. Explain why this is the next role you’re looking for and what skills you’ve obtained that can be taken with you to be used in the new role.
For instance: if you’re applying for a coordinating role, tell us how you’ve perfected the appropriate skills for this role in your job as a Project Manager and why you’re now looking for an administrative role. Or if you’re switching from another industry to the music / creative industry: let us know how your skills and past experience equipped you for a role in the creative industry and why you’re looking to move into this new industry.
Explain why you want this job
Seems to be an open door, but it’s often neglected. Describe your passion for the role next to why you’d be a good fit. We’d love to know your favorite tasks in the new job, what you love about these tasks, if you have hobbies that coincide with the job you’re applying for and if you have affinity with the company. So, if in line with the job description or creative industry: it could be noteworthy that you volunteer at festivals every summer.
Keywords and choice of words
Choosing your words carefully is always a good thing. Have you thought about using keywords in your cover letter? Not only are there certain ‘power words’ that create a positive impression, a little psychology might also go a long way.
How? Use keywords used by the company in the job description or by people in the creative industry. This creates an (unconscious) likeability factor and a sense of understanding.
Tl;dr (too long, didn’t read)
Keep it under one page. As stated before, be nice to your recruiter and pamper them with an easy to read and compact letter that’s up to one page or less.
Send an e-mail if you haven’t heard anything in a while. Don’t be too forward, give the hiring team some time to read all the applications and get back to you. Give it up to a week or two, and then kindly state you just want to check in and see if they have any questions.
This is also a great way to send in a super short cover letter if there wasn’t any way of sending that in (maybe due to the company working with an online form). Don’t wait too long for that, send it out the day after you’ve sent your resume. State that you’re double checking if your resume was received and shortly speak of your enthusiasm for the role or company. Next, list some of your research and how you can help the company with certain matters they’re facing if you were to be hired in the role.
And there you have it. The King of Cover Letters told us you’re ready to send yours in after using these tips and tricks. (Yes, we’re in contact with the cover letter King – we have him on speed dial). He also told us you really need to check out the third part of our Application Guide, that’s all about the job interview of your life. Be seeing you.