Four phrases NOT to use on your startup job application

by Jobbatical October 06, 2015

[Application Dealbreakers]

And what to replace them with.

Jobbatical connects talented professionals with lifechanging career adventures at startups around the world. There’s no room for average, generic applications here! These tips are culled from feedback from Jobbatical employers, but are relevant for any startup job you may be applying for.


Don’t say:

“Dear Sir/Madam”

This may be traditional, but it just won’t fly when you’re applying to join a personality-filled startup team. Don’t treat them like a faceless corporation, because they aren’t one!

Instead, say:

Dear [Founder’s Name]
or
Hello [Startup Name] Team

Do some research, and show them that you aren’t just copy & pasting your message. Your greeting is the first thing they’ll see, and a simple way to make a positive first impression.


Don’t say:

“I just want to travel, anywhere.”

You may be open to bringing your career wherever the winds of wanderlust may take you. That’s great, but now’s not the time to declare that! Saying this sounds like you are applying to lots of jobbaticals or jobs at random, without much thought.

Jobbatical Cover Photo for: Python Developer Wanted in Bali, Indonesia [See all Indonesia jobbaticals]

Instead say:

“I would love to live in [their city] because…”

It’s perfectly fine to apply to gigs in multiple places! Just show each potential employer that you truly would be excited to move to their homebase. Working at a startup is an amazing way to get to know a city, so it’s really something to look forward to.


Don’t say:

“I don’t know much about your company, but this role looks perfect…”

Our teams aren’t just looking for people with the right skills; they’re looking for new teammates with the right skills and a genuine passion for what the startup is doing. This should go without saying, but it’s so important that we’re including it anyway!

Jobbatical Cover Photo for: Software Developer in Thailand [See all Thailand jobbaticals]

Instead, say:

“What excites me about your mission is…”

Show them that you understand their vision, and would be thrilled to be a part of it.


Don’t say:

“This would be a great opportunity for me.”

You wouldn’t be applying for it if you didn’t think it was a good opportunity, would you? Save your words for persuading the startup why hiring you is in their best interest.

Jobbatical Cover Photo for: Brilliant Systems Architect Wanted in Canada [See all Canadian jobbaticals]

Instead, say:

“Here’s why I’m uniquely prepared for this role:”

The opportunities on Jobbatical are highly desirable positions, and the employers are taking a leap of faith to consider hiring someone from the other side of the continent or world. Grab their attention and show them why it’s worth their while to hire you, rather than the average candidate next door!


Now that you’ve read (or even skimmed) through the four ill-fated phrases and their more promising counterparts, you’ve probably noticed a pattern. The underlying message that we hear again and again from employers on Jobbatical is this:

We want personalized, whole-hearted applications from people who are specifically excited about who we are, where we are, and what we’re doing.

You don’t need to use our suggested phrases verbatim in your application (in fact, we strongly suggest that you express yourself in your own words), but making sure you’ve addressed each of the above four principles is a great way to up your chances of joining your dream team.
Good luck, and happy applying!

Next in the Application Dealbreakers series:
Do not let this thought cross their mind.


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