Your application is not about you

Adam Faust
3 min readJun 30, 2017

I reply to every email sent to We get roughly one email a week about job inquiries. They are all bad. The last one was especially infuriating. Here’s a breakdown.

There is no me, in email. Or is there?

Subject Line: Possible Job Opportunities
Uses of “I” or “me”: 15 times
Uses of our company name: 0 times

No surprise here. She was firing off generic emails hoping for any response, I assume. So as I always do, I responded:

We are not hiring, but I can tell you why I did not even look at your work. This is not meant to be rude, but as guidance from someone who was once in your shoes. The best advice I can give you is to make your emails less about you and more about how you can help the organization you are applying to:

From the moment I landed on your website your online presence drew me in and I knew that I had to apply for a position at this company immediately!

This line in particular seemed generic and like you were using it to apply to anywhere. Be specific and thoughtful with every email you write and you will have much better luck. Pick out specific places you want to work and give them examples on what you like about them. Flattery will get you far.

LinkedIn is a great place to research about the people you are approaching.

Good luck.

That was ten days ago. She has not responded. She is actively looking for a job, and achieved her goal of making a connection with me. All she had to do was reply. We could have had a laugh about it and sat down and discussed her career goals. I could have been a new connection for her and that would mean all my connections could become her connections! That’s how easy it could have been.

But it’s not just her. It’s over 90% of the young folks who reach out and fail to follow up.

The one before that I replied to:

We don’t have anything right now, but you seem like a bright kid. If you ever want to talk about your career, maybe I can help.


I am not putting this on millennials. I am so tired of people claiming millennials are lazy. I have four who work for me, and they are anything but lazy. They’re smart, hungry and they take criticism like professionals. When I was 24, I was a delightful concoction of 3 parts jackass and 1 part dumbass. I thought I was hungry, but I was only antsy. It was the first time in my life when there was no plan and I realized I didn’t know what I wanted. But I know now. What a mook!

Don’t be a mook. Ask for help. You’re not entitled to anything. No one owes you. Internships are awesome. Ask smart people to coffee. Bust your butt. And when someone replies to your job inquiry… REPLY BACK.

Send me an email, Young Person. I will reply.



Adam Faust

We started 5+8 for the same reason anyone starts a company: We thought we could do it better.