I was recently asked to look at some advice for new graduates entering the workforce. It was the usual mix of helpful, obvious, and trite. You know the sort - tailor your application to the job specification, make sure your CV is spelled correctly, don't give up, etc.
In the middle of it, was this doozy. "Put your application in a gold coloured envelope so it stands out from the crowd!"
This struck me as… unusual advice. But I checked against the Twitter hive mind.
Employers - if you received a job application in a gold coloured envelope, would that make the applicant stand out?
— Terence Eden (@edent) August 17, 2021
I remember, during my first job hunt, being told by well-meaning advisers to "walk into the office, ask to speak to the manager, and hand over your CV! Remember a firm handshake!"
Even at the fag-end of the last century (why am I so old?!) this was objectively terrible advice. Most places wanted you to fill in a standardised application form. Sure, there were a handful of small places which would take an unsolicited CV - but they were extremely rare. And, frankly, not the sort of places which would be a springboard for a career.
Today... I can't even remember the last time I posted off a job application. Most of the things I see don't even have a postal address available. It's either "fill in this crappy online form…" or "send an email to…" or "attend this webinar to register…"
I've run dozens of recruitment campaigns - at senior and junior level - and I can't ever remember receiving a physical application form.
Would there be some novelty in receiving a coloured envelope? Sure! But I doubt I'd see it. Assuming the mail reached the right member of staff (who is probably WFH) - they'll be on the HR team. They're not going to care about one envelope - just whether you've put the right keywords to make it past the sift.
Of course, maybe my rarefied tech-industry lifestyle has left me ignorant to what things are like in the "real world". I don't doubt there are some industries where turning up unsolicited with a CV is a good way to get a foot in the door. And I'm sure some businesses run mainly on snail-mail. And having an online-only application discriminates against the digitally excluded.
But giving this sort of outdated advice to new entrants in the job market is just cruel.