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If you’ve never applied for a job before, the job application process can look pretty daunting from the outside looking in. But applying for a job is just a simple four-step process that anyone can complete. You’re going to need the following: a strong internet connection, a malleable resume and cover letter, and an idea of what kind of job you want.
1. Go online and search for the job you want.
I use the term ‘want’ loosely here--you should be casting a wide net, because a lot of these places may not even call you or respond to your application, so it’s best to apply to as many jobs as you can to improve your chances. When considering if you’d be a good fit for a company, try looking into the company’s values and it’s mission statement to see if they align with your own. Apply to jobs that you may not have the exact experience for; don’t limit yourself to certain jobs just because your experience level may be less than what they’re looking for. When you go in for an interview, as long as you can passionately explain you’d be a good fit for the position and bring a resume
that parallels that, why not give that job application a shot?
2. Modify your resume and cover letter.
Regardless of which job you’re applying to, you’re going to want to edit your resume and cover letter to fit each position. For example, if you’re applying to work at an ice cream store, make sure your resume includes every customer service position you've ever held instead of your past editing or writing internships. If you carefully examine the job description, you can also incorporate any “buzz words” that it mentions to describe yourself in your cover letter and resume, in order to catch the employer’s attention.
3. Apply to the job and work with the recruiter who contacts you.
After you’ve completed steps one and two, you’re ready to apply for a job! Once your application is submitted, make sure you’re checking your voicemails and emails each day to stay on top of any messages from a potential future employer. During this time, it’s not a bad idea to answer calls from unknown numbers too—you may end up talking to some telemarketers, but one of those calls could also be from the HR department from your future company. When you’re contacted about setting up a phone, video, or in-person interview, try to be as flexible as possible (if you can) with the company. This is just a small opportunity to show the employer, even before you’re hired, that you’re willing to work with other people’s schedules and compromise in certain situations.
Image via Unsplash by Brooke Lark
4. Prepare for your interview and go over what you put down on your application and resume.
There are lists upon lists of common interview questions online that you can use to prepare yourself before you sit down for your interview. When going through those questions, make sure you’re aware of what information you’ve already given to your interviewers: your application and resume. You need to be able to live up to what you put down on your application and resume, so it’s a good idea to have situations in mind that you can pull from in explaining your past job experiences and skill set. Be honest in your interview—your interviewers are trying to see if you’ll be a good fit for their office environment and staff, so just be yourself and let your personality shine through all that nervousness (I know, easier said than done).
This is just a quick and easy guide to explain what the job application process is all about, not a mandatory checklist, so the rest is up to you! Good luck on your job-hunting journey!
Sarah DeLena is currently studying for her masters in Publishing and Writing at Emerson College. She hopes to become an editor of YA literature, her favorite genre, own at least two golden retrievers, and further the legacy of the Oxford comma.