Applying for a Job

Thanks for considering working with us! We have prepared these guidelines to ensure your application gets a fair assessment, and to prepare you for our interview process.

We have a lot – around 100 – people apply for each role we advertise. This is good for us, giving us lots of choice, but it can make it hard for an applicant to stand out from the crowd. We do read every application we receive, but we’re not able to provide feedback on each application as to why it was not successful.

Many applications we discard because they are poorly presented or poorly written. We simply don’t have time to consider an applicant who is poorly presented, when we have 80 other folks who are excellently presented. That does not mean you need to get a graphic designer involved in your resume design – any of the standard templates out there are fine.

We DO mean, your resume must be logically presented, clearly written, and reflect all the aspects we detail below. Most of these are common sense, but common sense does not seem to be very common any more…

Top reasons for rejecting an application

There are two main reasons we reject applications who might be suitable, but don’t present themselves well:

  1. Applicant provides details on their duties at previous roles, but not achievements
  2. Applicant sends a generic cover-letter, that does not respond to any of the hot buttons we are looking for.

Read on for tips on how to avoid these mistakes.

Read the job ad thoroughly

We spend significant effort crafting a job ad to ensure it communicates exactly what we want. Don’t assume more (or less) than the ad says.We always list requirements for people applying for this role.

Occasionally, we’ll be so blown away by an applicant’s other skills, that we will accept not matching on one requirement… but that’s rare. Be up front if you don’t match, and in your cover letter, indicate why that requirement does not apply to you. If you don’t do this, your application will likely be rejected outright.

Consider that this role just may not be for you. If you like the sound of us, subscribe to our mailing list (in the left hand column) to be notified of new roles as they become available.

Research what we do, and what we stand for.

Knowing what we do at a phone interview and face-to-face interview stage is going to impress us. Having an informed opinion on what we do will impress us even more!

We love feedback and we thrive on criticism. Analysis of our product within your area of expertise is sure to make you look good. Not remembering who we are, what we do, or what role you applied for when we call does not make you look like the sharpest tack in the box.

We love it when applicants ask us questions that are difficult to answer – it shows they are thinking outside the box. That’s the kind of person we want to work with!

Review our website’s free areas. Warning – there is a bunch of nudity on our site, it’s not for the faint hearted. It’s definitely not for children. Careful if you’re checking it out at work (some workplaces block adult sites, including ours). Take the free tour. There’s a bunch of images, and videos. This gives a good indication of the breadth of what we do, but not the depth. So, also review:

Consider your partner and family.

Consider what your partner may feel about you working for a company that produces erotica. Depending on your role, you may have nothing to do with actual content – you may even never see it – but some small-minded people have a problem with what we do. Don’t waste your time and ours if you know your partner or family would never “let” you work with us. We recommend you don’t lie to your partner about where you work, either… :)

Make a good cover letter

We get it. You’re trawling the jobs site, and you hit “Apply” for as many roles that might possibly suit you, hoping that one or two will respond. You have crafted a generic resume and cover letter, to ensure the letter will work for any Company you apply for. It’s easy… But it’s also bad, and here’s why.

Write a cover letter that responds to our ad.

Sending your default cover letter (which is, by requirement, bland) indicates to us you’re not that interested in our role. We don’t want to work with bland people. Your cover letter should not just regurgitate your CV in paragraph form. Talk about what we’re looking for, and relate that to why you’re ideal. Use words from our ad.

Make your cover letter about us

We apologise in advance for being egotistical: Make your cover letter about us, not you. Even if it’s stuff we already know (or, even if it is a criticism), even better is ideas on how we could do better; this sends the message that you’re thinking, you have done research, you’re astute, and you’re ready to help us make something awesome:  you can see how that’d appeal to a potential employer, right?

Use your cover letter to back yourself

Never use words like “I believe that…” or “I’m confident that…”, “I’ve never <specific requirement listed in ad>, but I’m a fast learner…”. Commit, and be confident (but don’t lie, either).

If the ad does not say “Perfect for fast learners” (sometimes, our ads do say this), don’t bother. Indicate why you are (not why you “believe”, or “feel”, or “hope”) the best person for this position.

Ensure your cover letter is not too long

Ensure your cover letter is never more than a page, preferably less. PDF or MS Word is fine.

Polish your resume

We think these tips will help anyone applying for a job – and we’re pretty confident that no employer would disagree with these tips.

Help us understand your previous roles

We may not be aware of the subtleties of your previous roles, so help us understand.

On your resume, when you list the name of companies you have worked for in the past, describe what they do in a brief sentence. This is not necessary if the company is a household name (say “Microsoft”), but err on the side of caution. Don’t assume we know the name of the largest olive oil producer in a suburb of a small city in a different country. Please err on the side of caution.

Include your role title, and provide a sentence describing what that role is in a nutshell. Don’t assume we know your industry parlance, even if it seems to you like we should.

List your significant responsibilities in your previous roles in point form.

Tell us about your achievements

This is one of the most significant parts of your resume. Your achievements are way more important to us than your responsibilities. List your achievements in each role in point form.

These must be specific, tangible, measurable, and usually numeric. If you had Key Performance Indicators in this role, list them, and include what you achieved on average. If you are shaping up to be a successful candidate, we will check the accuracy with your previous employer. An example of some good, meaningful achievements might be:

  • Worked on 10 projects in 12 months. Each project was delivered on budget, on schedule.
  • KPI: 20 sandwiches per hour. I consistently made 26 sandwiches per hour.

An example of some meaningless “achievements” would be the following (we have included the kinds of frustrating questions we’d ask ourselves, before we put your resume directly on the “no” pile):

“Documented company procedures”

(Which procedures? Were they approved? What docs were in place beforehand? Are they being used still? How big was the document? What was the time-frame? Were they delivered on time? Were you just a writer, or did you form the actual policy itself AND write it?)

“Performed research as necessary”

(On what? How? Time-frame? What did it result in? Were you responsible for all the research, or just a small part? Did the research you did result in the success of a project?)

Provide actual, real world, commercial-environment examples

For most roles we advertise, we’re interested in your actual, real-world work experience, in a commercial environment. We do make exceptions, but you need to address why we should for you, in your cover letter. Volunteer work in a relevant field is good, but not as meaningful as paid work in a commercial environment. Volunteer work in unrelated fields (for example, charity work) is always a good thing, so don’t be shy about that.

Some bonus tips

We’re looking for people with the right skills for the role, but also the right person for the role. We want people who can communicate effectively and concisely, who have a sense of humour, who are organised, who show attention to detail, and who present well. You can have all the skill in the world, but if you’re not able to communicate effectively, you may not be suitable for working with us.

If your resume has similar, but no actual experience in the area we require, discuss this fact in your cover letter, and indicate why the skills you have are transferable (not why you “think” they “might” be).

We’re based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. If you’re not able to travel here for an interview at your own expense, please do not apply. Please address this issue in your cover letter, so we don’t reject you outright. For some roles, we may offer to relocate the right person, but that usually will not apply to interviews.

If you’re older than 15, do not mention the primary school you went to, unless you are being funny (or it was kiddie MENSA).

Next: Preparing for your interview.

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