I received an excellent issue of The Playbook newsletter in my inbox today.

It was a breakdown of how to read a job posting and tease out clues as to exactly what you should send the company to blow their socks off.

The job is a Content Marketing Specialist at Yelp. After breaking down the job posting in detail and condensing the most important things, it gets into the “what to send” part.

I’m gonna share a big section from the newsletter because it’s great stuff:



Ready to blow Yelp’s socks off? Great. Because in this section, we’re going to offer specific suggestions for proving you have everything it takes and more to crush it in the role.

Recall where the job posting listed things they wanted to see:

Play-By-Play Breakdown – How to Read a Job Posting

  • Educational articles, guides, and customer stories
  • Modify and edit existing content – or create new content
  • Editorial calendars, content plans, style guides
  • Explain thinking behind writing/editing decisions

Focus on these assets. If you have an example of something you’ve created in the past that matches one or all of these, great. But even better if you’re willing to start from scratch to create something new specifically for Yelp, that they could use immediately.

Let’s tackle these from top to bottom. 

Related: 4 Projects to Create Value

Educational articles, guides, and customer stories.

Educational articles, guides, and customer stories. Pick one of those. We’ll use customer stories as an example. Here’s a suggestion how you could create one.

Find a restaurant or small business that’s experienced a positive benefit by using Yelp. We suggest searching for a local, non-chain business (think Mom and Pop). Go talk to the owner. Ask about their story. Their customers. When and why they started the business. Ask about their experience using Yelp. Take good notes, then ask if they’d be open to you using them for a quote in a story.

Then write a story. Maybe use an angle about how technology has impacted these businesses. Somehow weave Yelp into the mix (painted in a good light, obviously). Then, find a couple local newspaper reporters and call them up to tell them you have a story for them. Try to get it published.

If it does get published, send the article to Yelp with your application. Even if it doesn’t get published, send the story in (with permission to publish under your name) along with your application.

Modify and edit existing content – or create new content

This one is easy. Go search Yelp’s blogs. Find two posts that are out of date. Rewrite one from scratch. Edit another. Include links to both in your application.

Editorial calendars, content plans, style guides

This one will take practice. But even if you don’t have legit experience with these, you can come off strong. Here’s one suggestion:

Draft up a list of 25 blog post ideas you think align with what they’re looking for (think: inspiration, education, guides for small business owners or consumers). Then create a schedule for yourself to create, edit, and publish these posts over a 30-day period. Include this in your application.

Explain thinking behind writing/editing decisions

Go back to the posts you rewrote and edited. Use a tool like Loom to create a video recording walkthrough comparing the old posts with your new versions. Explain your reasoning for rewriting or editing specific sections or important sentences. Include a link to this video in your application.

Bringing it all together

If you’ve done all of the above, then you’re already lightyears ahead of the average job application (even if they have more experience than you). But now it’s time to ensure you get their attention. Here are a few final suggestions for ensuring your work gets seen.

  • Find a possible hiring manager for the position on Linkedin and cold message them with a link to a portfolio of all the projects you just created
  • Create a simple one-page landing page website with links to all your projects, then tweet it at Yelp. Ask any friends or family to retweet it.
  • Mail a handwritten letter to the Yelp office with a flash drive of everything you created (and a link because who uses flash drives anymore?).

Sure, you can also send in an application the regular way. But we highly suggest you do more than just that. Especially if you don’t have a degree or relevant experience (because your application may never be seen).

With the suggestions in hand, go crush your job hunt. And remember, these same types of tactics can be used for other job postings, too.


The TLDR – don’t just send a resume or past work. Read a job posting as a chance to send PROOF you can do THIS JOB by doing some of it ahead of time!

Go checkout the full issue here.

Related: Go Your Own Way, but Don’t Go it Alone – Be Different on the Job Hunt

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