Applying for a job can be daunting, especially if it’s your first time. Maybe it’s a starting role after you graduate from university or a part-time job to keep you afloat. With the right preparation and mindset, you can increase your chances of landing your dream career. And we’re here to help. Read on for our simple step-by-step guide to applying for a job:
1. Start With a Clear Idea of What You Want
Before you start applying for jobs, it’s important to have a definitive understanding of what you’re looking for to make sure you don’t waste your time applying and the employers. Are you looking for part-time or full-time hours? What industry or field are you interested in? What are your career goals? Having a clear sense of direction will help you focus your search and tailor your application to the roles that best fit you.
2. Research the Company and Job Role
Once you have found a role you’re interested in, start to research the company and job role thoroughly. This will help you understand what the company is looking for and whether you fit the role. Look at the company’s website, social media profiles, and other online resources to learn more about its culture, values, and mission. Also, make sure to read the job description carefully to understand the required skills, experience, and qualifications. Do you have everything they are looking for? Even if you don’t, consider whether you have any similar experience you can talk about which would indicate you could quickly adapt to the parts with which you are less comfortable.
3. Update and Customise Your Resume and Cover Letter
Your resume and cover letter are your first introduction to the company – it’s vital they’re up-to-date and tailored to the job you’re applying for. You may be thinking, what’s the difference? Well, your resume should highlight your relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments, while your cover letter should explain why you’re a good fit for the job and what you can bring to the company.
Top tips: Use keywords from the job description and highlight why they should hire you. Make sure everything you send over is presentable, well-organised, easy to read, and free of errors. There are many free online tools, such as Grammarly, that will make sure your writing is mistake-free. It’s also worth asking a friend or family member to cast their eye over your CV too.
A checklist of what to include on your CV:
- Personal Details: Your name, contact information (phone number and email address), and location (city or town).
- Professional Summary or Objective: A brief statement summarising your professional experience, skills, and career goals.
- Work Experience: A list of your previous work experiences, including job titles, dates of employment, and descriptions of your responsibilities and achievements.
- Education and Training: Qualifications, including the name of the institution, dates attended, and degree or award obtained.
- Skills: A list of your key skills and areas of expertise, such as technical skills, languages, or software knowledge.
- Achievements and Awards: A list of any notable achievements or awards you have received.
- Volunteer Work and Community Involvement: A list of any volunteer work or community involvement you have participated in, including dates and brief descriptions of your responsibilities.
- Professional Memberships: A list of any professional organisations or associations you belong to, such as sports clubs.
- References: A list of 2-3 professional references, including their name, job title, company, and contact information. If you’re not ready to share this on application, just add “references available upon request”.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any previous experience or references you can include – you can make yourself stand out to employers by highlighting your skillset and goals.
4. Submit Your Application
Once you’ve researched the company and updated your resume and cover letter, it’s time to submit your application. Depending on the company, you may need to apply through their website or email your application directly to the hiring manager. Make sure to follow the instructions provided by the company and include all required documents, such as your resume, cover letter, and any additional materials requested. Good luck!
5. Prepare for Your Interviews
If your application is successful, you’ll likely be invited to an interview (how exciting!). This is your chance to showcase your skills, experience, and personality to the company. Take the time to research the company and the role and prepare thoughtful responses to common interview questions. Practice your interview skills with a close friend or family member, and dress professionally for the occasion. Always show up 10 minutes before your interview is scheduled and prepare some questions for the employer.
15 Questions to Ask Employers at Job Interviews
Sometimes when an employer asks if you have any questions, it can put you on the spot, leaving you looking like a dear in headlights. That’s if you haven’t prepared any, anyway. So, to help, here are 15 questions you can bring to a job interview to show you’re engaged:
- What are the main responsibilities and duties of this role?
- How does this role fit into the company’s larger goals and objectives?
- Can you describe the team or department this role will work with?
- What are the biggest challenges facing this position?
- What is the company’s culture like?
- How does the company foster growth and development for its employees?
- Can you describe the company’s management style?
- How does the company measure success in this role?
- What are the opportunities for advancement or promotion within the company?
- How does the company support work-life balance?
- What is the typical career trajectory for someone in this role?
- Can you tell me about a recent project or initiative that the company has undertaken?
- What are the company’s plans for growth and expansion in the future?
- How does the company approach diversity, equity, and inclusion?
- Can you describe the company’s performance review process?
6. Follow-Up After the Interview
You don’t have to do this, although it gives a good impression to follow up with a thank-you note or email after the interview. This is a polite way to express your gratitude for the opportunity and reiterate your interest in the role. It’s also a chance to address any questions or concerns that may have come up during the interview and forgotten to ask about.
7. Be Patient, Persistent, and Don’t Give Up!
On a final note, remember that the job search process can take time, and not every application will lead to an offer. Be patient and persistent and keep applying to roles that fit your criteria. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from interviews or seek out advice from career coaches. With the right mindset and preparation, you’ll land your dream role in no time.
We hope these tips help you apply successfully for your next job. Remember to start with a clear idea of what you want, research potential employers, tailor your cv, submit a strong application, follow up after you apply, prepare for the interview, follow up after the interview, and be patient and persistent. With these steps, you’ll be well on your way to finding your next great opportunity.
Read more to get you started: 20 Student Job Hunting Tips.
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