Articles for Professionals, People

Decades Old, Another Industry But These Job Application Tips are Solid!


Ogilvy on Advertising‘ is essential reading for anyone in the advertising industry. What’s that? How has a book on advertising made it into a fitness industry recruitment blog? Beyond its timeless lessons on advertising, there is a small but excellent section on applying for jobs. And despite being more than 30 years old and from another industry, David Ogilvy’s lessons on applying for jobs remain as relevant as ever.  [Indicates loose editing to suit our industry].

How to apply for a job

Contact three or four [clubs/studios and determine who the best contact is for a job application. Once you have an email address, send through a well written, polite email] with resume attached. Be sure to take a lot of trouble with it…

1 Spell all names right. It’s astonishing how often job applicants misspell the names of the clubs they want to work for. The message that gets through, right off the bat, is: ‘This applicant can’t be seriously interested in working here; he didn’t even take the trouble to find out how to spell our name.’

2 Identify the sort of job you’re applying for. State it clearly and at once. Say what led you to apply – an ad, a recommendation from a friend, whatever. A letter applying for a job as a research analyst started in this mysterious way:

“Dear Ms. Smith: It’s spring already – a time to think about planting seeds. Some seeds are small, like apple seeds. Others are bigger. Coconuts, for example. But big or little, a seed can grow and flourish if it’s planted in proper soil.”

The applicant would have done better to start like this:

“Dear Ms. Smith: I understand that you are looking for a research analyst.”

Ms. Smith doesn’t have time to play guessing games with her mail.

3 Be specific and factual. Once you’ve made clear what job you want, then touch on your chief qualifications. Avoid egotistical abstractions like: ‘Ambition mixed with a striving for excellence is one of my strongest assets.’

4 Be personal, direct and natural. You are a human being writing to another human being. Neither of you is an institution. You should be businesslike and courteous, but never stiff and impersonal. The more your letter sounds like you, the more it will stand apart from the letters of your competitors. But don’t try to dazzle your reader with your sparkling personality. You wouldn’t show off in an interview, so why show off in a letter? If you make each sentence sound the way you would say it across a desk, there will be plenty of personality in your letter.

The above excerpt can be found at location 610 of 3312 if looking at it on your Kindle.

In our article on What to Wear to Personal Training Interview we quoted David Aitchison who said ‘corporate attire’ was the expectation. And so it should be with your written application – professional, concise and courteous. It’s a sure fire ticket to application success.

Regards, Dennis.

Picture 15Founder and Managing Director of HealthyPeople. Suffer the curse of thinking all my ideas are good ones. Driven to help people enjoy the career/business in fitness that they’re looking for. Catch my HealthyPeople updates via @dennishosking


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