job title, keywords or company name
city, state or postal code

Applying for a Job

Applying for a job may seem a daunting, especially for those who will do it for the first time. It may even seem scary because of the possible rejections. Some people cannot readily cope with rejections especially if the position they are applying for is a dream job. Even for someone who has job experience, applying for a new job oftentimes causes butterflies in the stomach. However, the anxiety of applying for a job can be minimized if one knows the common application process. This will help an applicant to navigate through the process and hurdle the challenges. Although specific companies or organizations have their own job applicant screening procedures, there are some common steps that a fresh graduate job applicant must familiarized.

Step 1: Clear Objectives

Before embarking on your quest of applying for a job, it is important that you should be clear in your objectives. You must be specific in your goals but should also be flexible. You should decide on what job you want based on your skills and other qualifications. Although it is not uncommon for people to have careers that are off-tangent to their qualifications, you should be focused on the industry where you are most suited if it is the first time you will apply for a job. You should streamline your job targets to make the application process simpler and also to increase your chance of finding the best-suited job for you. You may narrow down your options based on the following:

Career industry — You must consider the specific industry you want to belong based on your interest and qualifications. You are less likely to be happy and very effective in a career field that you do not like or do not have the proper qualifications. Either you are considering to transition from one field to another or you are interested to make a lateral move within your own industry, it is crucial that there is proper matching of skills and organizational needs.

Consider the required qualifications — Deciding on which job opportunity to take will not be very difficult if you know exactly the skills set and credentials required by the employers. It is not only a matter of passing the screening process but also a matter of having a sense of belongingness and feeling appreciated for your skills once you are hired and begin working for the company.

Take into consideration the salary and benefits — Search for jobs that will provide you with the financial security that you need. You should have a minimum amount of compensation benefit package that you want and need such as health insurance coverage and fixed monthly salary.

Step 2: Research About the Employer

It is very important that you are knowledgeable about the prospective employers before you send your resumes or agree to a scheduled interview. Customized your resume and cover letter before sending them. Make sure that these documents are in consonant with what the employers are looking for. Find out about the history, market advantage and culture of the companies to which you intend to seriously apply for a job. You are likely to be shortlisted if the interviewer see that you are knowledgeable about the company.

Step 3: Write a Resume

You need to always have a backup resume even when the job you are applying for does not require the submission of standard type of resume. You should always update your resume just in case there is an opportunity that comes up. A resume does not simply tell about your educational attainment and professional experience but it could be more detailed and specific regarding the projects or special tasks that you have handled in the past. It can also contain information about the awards that you have received and socio-civic organizations that you have joined.

Your resume should contain your contact information such as phone numbers, mailing address, social media accounts (optional), email address and website. Your contact details should be always be up-to-date so that you will always be reachable by prospective employers. It is helpful that you provide at least two phone numbers just in case one of your phones are down.

The educational background part of your resume should list the colleges you have attended and the courses you have taken, starting from the very recent one. Be specific about the degrees or certificates that you have earned.

Include your most recent employments for at least in the past five years. As a rule of thumb, you should dedicate one resume page per ten years of experience. If you have large employment gaps or multiple jobs in a short time, this could be a minus point for you. You may downplay this by not including the dates or only choosing to include the most recent, relevant or longest job experiences. Only when you are asked during the interview that you should tell the details.

Your resume should also include information about your most relevant skills that can be very useful in the position you are applying for. These could include computer skills, project management skills and technical skills.

Step 4: Know the Application Process

You should know the application process in order for you to be more prepared. It could include series of exams, interviews and practical demonstration of skills. You may call the employer or research on the internet about the application process. You are likely to be routed to the human resource manager. You might be asked to submit a resume or come for an initial interview if there is urgent hiring.

Step 5: Write a Cover Letter

A resume is not sufficient to provide the important information that a would-be employer will need to consider your application. This is the reason why cover letters and interviews are necessary. You should write a short cover letter to introduce yourself and your desire to apply for a specific position. Just make sure that your cover letter does not exceed three paragraph. It should be addressed to a specific person such as the human resource manager or the president of the company. You may mention in the letter how your skill set and interests could align to the mission-vision of the company. You may also highlight your background as asset to the position and the company in general.

Step 6: Solicit the Opinions of Others

A critique of your resume and application letter can be helpful in improving them. You should solicit the opinions of friends or family members about how you presented yourself in your resume and cover letter. Other people are likely to spot the things that you have missed or should not include. From simple typographical error to more serious details of your employment background should be checked. There are terms or sentences that may need to be rephrased or the layout should be changed to emphasized the crucial points you want to communicate.

Step 7: Provide references

Contact former employers, colleagues, teachers and friends and asks them if you could list them as professional references for your job application. Companies may not immediately require you to provide references but it is good that you should inform your professional contacts that you want them to be your references.

Step 8: Simply Apply

When you have already fined-tuned your resume and cover letter, found professional references and have a shortlist of companies in which you are interested, then it is time to send your application. Depending on the requirements of a company, you may send your application online, through fax, by mail or in person. You may need to include some supporting documents such as photocopies of your transcript of records and employment certificates from previous employers.

Step 9: Make Follow Ups

Not unless prohibited, you may do some follow ups after several days or weeks that you have submitted your applications. You may follow up by phone or through mail. Sometimes your application may already have been shortlisted but the human resource officer might have just forgotten to send notifications or the hiring is not yet very urgent. Applying online has some advantages, especially if you are using job market websites. You can see the status of your applications by opening your account. Always be polite and non-demanding when making follow ups and do not overdo it. The most appropriate timing for follow ups would be a few days before the closing dates of the submission of applications or a few days after the dates.