Setting yourself up for the job you want requires a lot of preparation, a lot of investing in yourself and then of course connecting with the right people and resources to get you to where you want to go. Let’s dive into some basic tips to start.
What to do before you apply?
- Update your email address
- First impressions are everything; so when you’re emailing a potential employer, the first thing they will see is your email address. It’s time to get rid of the email address you made when you were 14, and use a professional one like email@example.com.
- Update your voicemail
- Again, first impressions! Your message should say something like, “You’ve reached Sarah Brown. Please leave your name and number and I’ll call you back as soon as I can. Thank you!”
Invest in Yourself
- Invest in business cards
- They’re inexpensive and easy to produce, and it’s good to have something professional to hand out
- Prepare your resume and a generic cover letter
- Ask for advice at your school’s career center
- Look at your wardrobe
- Clean up Social Media
- Many bosses check potential employees’ social network pages and won’t hire people who display rude, lewd or inappropriate photographs, statuses or conversations
- Check out our infographic for how to leverage Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to land the job you want
- Line up your references
- Talk to two or three people who would be willing to speak on your behalf to prospective employers
- These should be people who know you from an academic, job or coaching/mentoring standpoint, so that they can talk about your work ethic, your leadership qualities, your sense of responsibility, and the other things that are important to a boss
- Make sure you have good contact information for each of these people
How do you fill in a job application?
Employment applications, whether on paper or online, generally require the same information. Keep your resume handy and updated, you should find most of the information you need from your resume to complete a basic job application.
|Personal Information||Education||Position Information||Employment Information||References|
|Name||Schools/Colleges Attended||Job TitleTip: be specific: “clerk” or “server” never leave this blank or say “you’ll do anything”||Names, addresses, phone numbers of previous employers||Reference’s NameTip: be sure to list someone who you know will speak positively about you/your work ethic|
Tip: put “negotiable” or “open”
|Previous supervisors’ name(s)||Reference’s Title|
|Telephone number||Degree/Diploma||Availability||Dates of employment||
Relationship to your reference
Example: Professor, mentor, former supervisor
|Email Address||(Anticipated) Graduation Date||Start date||Salary/wage|
|Proof of eligibility to work in the U.S.||Reason for leaving
Tip: always list a positive reason: “sought more responsibility” never list a negative: “quit”
When completing an application by hand, bear in mind the following:
- Read the directions and follow them!
- Check your spelling
- Try to write it right the first time – don’t cross things out
- Write clearly
- Make sure you answer all questions
- Make sure you apply for a specific position
- Explain any gaps in employment history
- Sign and date the application
Some potential employers may ask you to complete a personality test. These can be tricky, but the website eHow has an excellent piece on how to pass them successfully. Click HERE to read it.
I’ve turned in the application, now what?
STAY ON IT. Follow up. Get the name of the manager and call back in about three days. Stop by in a week. If you’re really interested in the job, stand out from the crowd by clearly showing your interest. Keep on it until you get an interview, or they tell you the job’s been filled.