As most of you know, I ran a pretty tight ship as the owner of Feathermoon. My staff were extremely carefully selected to provide the best possible service as a Game Master, Moderator, Developer or Administrator - effectively, providing an extremely professional service to the players. As I had high expectations of all staff members, I really only ever paid any attention to a well written application. Detailed and honest applications stick out.
So, how do you write up a good Looking For Work or Application to work on someone's project?
Here's what I look for.
Giving the reader of your application, your real name, your real age and your real location is a key element to any application. It defines who you are, how old you are and where you are. These are important things to know. After all, it's all well and good saying (For example) "Zio is LFW", but you don't REALLY know me then. You just know me as some dude on the internet. That's a hard thing to base any trust on, and your reader (potentially someone you could be working with) needs to trust you.
Age is key, if I lied in an application and said I was 20, when really, I was 13 - it won't be long before someone older and wiser picks up on it and finds out you're lying. That will probably cost you your position. Lastly, the Location is a useful tool to see when a person will be online. I struggle to see people whom are online whilst I'm asleep, because of time-zones, so it's good to see who I will see on a regular basis, and who I will have to trust to leave on their own to do the job, without my supervision. These three things are the initial start to a potential 'employer' trusting the applicant with the tasks they're applying to work on.
Servers you've worked for before:
Why are you not working for them now?:
Previous work shows the reader what you can do. List everything that you think is relevant to the job you're applying for. If you're applying for an SQL Developer of some sort, then you need to show evidence of your capabilities with SQL Queries and your understanding of a Database. Try to use your own work, copying work - means there's a duplicate piece of work out there somewhere, and someone WILL run in to it and you'll be up shit creek when you're found out.
Stating what servers you've worked for is generally used to determine the population you're used to. However, I myself have contacted the server owners and in some cases - the person has never even heard of the applicant. Sure - it could be a different name, but then you have to ask the applicant, why has so-and-so-server owner never heard of you? This is good research that allows potential 'employers' to track you down and find good reports, or bad reports about you. Being honest is the best policy. If you have a bad history with a server, still put it in this part, and explain why you don't work for them in the next part.
Why you're not working for such servers any more is an important question. It tells the reader of the application why you're not working for the server any more. This could be due to you just being bored of the server and wanting a fresh new challenge. Try not to lie, if it's anyone like me reading your application - and you say "I don't work at SERVER any more because I got bored." - and then the person much like me goes and asks the server owner, and he says because you dicked around - you're not going to get accepted anywhere. If that's the case - be honest and state that you dicked around. It'll look MUCH better on the application when you assure your honesty, followed by assuring you won't behave like that again.
Situations and Role Playing.
If you're applying for a Game Master position, it's a good idea to include Role Playing and Situation Handling examples. Such as - "A Player is begging you for gold or items, what do you do?" - then simply answer your own question with how you personally would handle the situation. This is a good way for people to see how you deal with things, and what you would do to their players if there was trouble. Elevate the situation example. Now the player is giving you grief for telling him/her "No." - how do you deal with that? These are all great examples to use - but try to use your imagination a little with the situation examples. Nothing TOO detailed, otherwise it will just look bad and doesn't serve as a situation example - because it's too specific, and we can never tell how a situation will pan out.
What can you bring to the team or server?
Stating clearly and concisely what you can bring to a team or it's project is a good way of saying - hey this is me, I'm an asset and this is how you'll see I'm an asset. Be honest though - it's no good saying things like, if I get on team, I'll be able to help fund the server bill. You have to provide information on what you can bring that isn't materialistic. Something like... a fun attitude, honesty or punctuality. A keen willingness to learn new skills. These are qualities that people like me, look for in potential staff members.
Check your level of experience and skill.
Applying out right with certain details can often uncontrollably specify the application towards certain styles, or popularity levels of servers. It's not always a good idea to be too graphic about what you're looking for. Trying to explain too much will put people off reading it, especially when you tip-toe for 500 words around one tiny little subject. It will get boring and you'll detract the reader from your application. Descriptive and brief is the best way. Make sure you're experienced enough, or have a good level of skill to apply to the tasks that are required to be completed by the server owners. You don't want to go making yourself look a bit like a tool, if you say you can do some sweet shit with some coding languages, but actually - can't.
Honesty over Impression.
In reference to the above statement, don't try to impress the server owner with bullshit. Talking yourself up a bit is all well and good, but if your talking up is actually bullshit, nobody will hire you based on lies. If your talking up is genuinely true, nobody will hire you based on blowing your own trumpet too much. Nobody likes an ego! Instead, try to just be yourself. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. You'll have nothing to hide, the server owner will know exactly who you are and what you're about and ultimately, it will increase your chances at getting the position you're looking for.
Communication is everything, the more ways you have for a server owner to contact you - the better. You should state in your application not to contact you through the thread. Simply state at the end of your application - if you're interested in me, please contact me through a PM or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This gives you the opportunity to state how you prefer the initial contact to happen. This way - you won't have to tie yourself to one person, because they've posted in your thread - now everyone thinks you're hired already. Also - if anyone does reply in your thread when you've clearly stated not to, you can always reply back and say "I'd rather not work for someone who finds it hard to follow a simple instruction and contact me privately, not via my thread."
This puts you in control and other server owners - who arn't tools themselves, will see your direct and concise attitude towards an obvious fool who finds it hard to follow simple instruction. This makes you look better. But don't ride on it, that'll just make you look a bit of a dick yourself.
Colours and Styling.
Avoid colours that are differentiated too much for the actual Forum's default style. Maybe recolouring the questions is fine, and maybe a bit of bold on them, but try not to make your application a head ache on a page. Because I've seen some really colourful applications in the past - and although I appreciate the applicants effort to make it stand out - I didn't like it because 5 seconds of reading it gave me a migraine. So stick to the style of the forum as much as possible, without changing too much. After all, you're trying to impress the owner of a server with information, not the colour or weight of the information.
I hope this helps out some of you people. I expect to see some... less informative... applications re-done some time soon. You'll get much more attention from them, trust me.