Applying to jobs can be extremely stressful, especially if you are someone newly entering the professional scene. Here are 10 tips for completing these job applications.
1. Use the Advanced Search option
When you’re applying to jobs, you will want to make sure they are fitting to everything you are looking for. Most job boards have an advanced search option and it is smart to use this to specify the general location, part time or full time, the type of job, and pay rate. Applying to every job you are qualified for is a tad unnecessary, and using the advanced search option will help to narrow your options.
2. Use a specific cover letter
You should always submit a cover letter and it should always be specific to the job you are applying to. There are only a few seconds for you to impress a hiring manager and a targeted cover letter will be noticed by them. Practice matching your qualifications to the specific job and really work on explaining what you can bring to this specific company.
3. Include more than full-time employment on your resume
Especially if you are in or just coming out of college, you want to include all relevant experiences on your resume, not just employment. Maybe it is volunteer experience, leadership experience through a club, or simply something you learned through the university itself. The most important thing is to make sure you cater your resume towards the specific job duties, and yes, this means you may have to make a different resume for each job you apply to.
4. Storytell during a job interview
The best way to answer each question is with a story. Obviously not a 30 minute every detail story, but one that is quick and concise. Hiring managers want concrete answers to their questions that include the specific situation and how you handled it, so this gives you a lot of opportunities to tell a story in your interview. This can also help the hiring manager better understand exactly who you are and how you behave in certain situations.
5. Check your contact details thoroughly
While it may seem silly, this mistake happens more often than not. You are more focused on the actual content of your resume and quickly type out your phone number or email address. If you contact information is wrong you are never going to get the job no matter how great your resume and cover letter are simply because they are unable to contact you.
6. Avoid leaving blanks
There will be questions on an application that will not apply to you, but it is best if you at least acknowledge the questions. If you don’t have an actual answer to the question, simply put N/A or not applicable. When you do answer questions make sure they are true because you will have to defend them assuming you land an interview.
7. Do not add salary requirements
The last thing you want is to be denied an interview because of your salary requirements. Many applications or hiring managers will ask this as a screening question but it is best to say “open ” or “negotiable.” Once offered the job or in a final interview round, you can mention what you are looking for specifically. A good company will pay you based on your experience and if they really want you they will meet your requirements as long as they are not unrealistic.
8. Provide references
Many applications will not specifically ask for references or recommendations but will allow you to upload additional documents. Employers want to see that you have people who will speak objectively but positively about you and your work ethic. As a younger job seeker, focus on both professional and character references, perhaps a past supervisor and an old athletic coach. More experienced job seekers tend to focus on professional references, but either is acceptable.
9. Connect with other professionals on LinkedIn
90% of receiving a job offer comes from networking, whether it be in person or online. Connecting with former classmates, coworkers, and colleagues will give you a strong base of online professionals to fall back on. Creating a LinkedIn post stating that you are searching for a job can create a whole network of people searching with you. One of your connections may know of a job opportunity that is perfect and can put in a good word for you upon the submission of your application.
10. Apply directly from the company website
Job boards such as Indeed are great for finding opportunities but not so great at submitting them. Many people have found that applying through Indeed can mess up the format of your resume, making you seem unprofessional and unorganized to the hiring manager. It is best to search for opportunities on these job boards and then transition to the company website to actually apply.