Speaking of the job application, how’s thought of adulting treating you thus far? It’s true that landing a job right after graduation usually requires more than a freshly earned degree, but let’s not panic just yet. We’ve gone through a little trouble of scouting all the best answers to the interview questions and the freshest resume tips from the mighty job recruiters. Now, buckle up, and pay attention to all the steps that will prompt you up for success during the process of a job application.
Before You Start Applying For Jobs
#MustNotBeForgotten: Every time you decide to move to a new position in the company or change jobs you’ll need to update your CV before applying. Now, here is what you need in your pre-application package:
The very first thing everybody asks for when you apply to a job is *drumrolls* – a traditional CV. Yes – It’s an unavoidable part of the recruitment process. If you haven’t already made one, this is the perfect time to do so. Remember, a resume needs to present you the best way possible, so it would be wise to set aside some time to work on it.
There are tons of materials you can find online explaining how to craft one that is going to turn heads toward your direction. Make sure to skip the standard forms unless it’s specifically required and try to add elements that are uniquely yours (i.e. specific design, or some hobbies if relevant). Remember, if ever in doubt whether you are on the right track, ask for a second opinion, it might come in handy.
How likely is it that you are going to buy an app if you don’t see any reviews? Not likely, right? The same thing applies to you in a job hunt – you need to have people to back you up and say how skilled and talented you are. It will serve as proof that you are capable of working on the position you are after. It is possible that employers may not request them in the first round of job application, but it’s of key importance to have them when asked.
How to obtain those references?
Ask college faculty members for reference letters. Also, a dandy way to gather support is to invite people you collaborated with over the years (i.e. former professors, or co-workers if you have done any other part-time job) to leave their references on your professional social media accounts. Don’t forget to ask them to say a few things that speak directly about your skills, strengths, and accomplishments.
3. Social Media
It is no secret that job recruiters check your digital footprint. They scan your social media accounts in search of more information about you. Therefore, we cannot stress how important it is that you clean up your social media accounts before starting the job application process. Your CV, cover letter and references may paint a picture of who you are, but if you get a red-flagged during the digital-check up, you are not going to be invited for an interview.
So, take control of your public image. Go through your history (yeah, we know it’s a messy job but it has to be done) and make sure to hide or delete everything that might be inappropriate for the job you are applying for.
Also, emphasize all the good work you’ve done and the positive sides of your character. This is not a one time job – you have to actively manage your own brand and affect the idea that forms in someone’s head when they hear your name.
4. Stand Out of the Crowd With a Personal Website
As we have already mentioned, recruiters turn to online searches on Google to find personal qualities that aren’t perceptible from a traditional resume. You did clean up your social media accounts, but let’s be honest here – there might be dozens or even hundreds of people with your name.
In order not to let recruiters find the wrong person and assumed it was the right “Sarah Smith”, why not take control to own your online narrative?
How? Personal website.
Having a personal website will definitely set you apart from the rest of the applicants, as it adds a touch of professionalism, immediately boosts up your set of skills, and it gives you space to share what you find interesting, relevant or want people to know about you.
In one of our research, we found that 67% of recruiters believe that a personal website provides more insight than a resume alone.
This is even more important if you are graduating with degrees in visual mediums, sales or technical positions – a portfolio is a must. So instead of scanning your work and delivering a pdf, take time to create its online version. By doing so you will shorten your traditional resume and have full liberty to list out your certifications or accomplishments, as well as examples of your work.
The Starter-pack is Ready, Now Off to the Job Application Process
So, how do you find job openings?
Consider creating a master list of prospective companies you would want to work for and keep an eye on them in case they open a position that would fit you. Also, reach out to alumni associations or past internships.
Examples include: Monster, LinkedIn, Indeed, Career Builder, Simply Hired, College Recruiter, Dice, Glassdoor and LinkUp.
Try reacting to a job opening as soon as you can, the best would be within 48 hours after it’s been published. To get into a good routine, start off your day by searching for new job openings each morning. Don’t stop your search just because a job prospect seems promising. It’s never certain how things are going to play out until the very moment you sign your contract.
Congrats, You’ve Made It to the Interview! What Now?
First, prepare the answers to the common questions like “Where do you see yourself in five years?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”. This will be enough to boost your confidence in the beginning. Then, make sure to do some research on the industry and get familiar with the company and its culture. To gather the information you can go through the content on their website, check out their publications, follow them on social media etc.
Recruiters like to check if you have done your homework so you might encounter questions like “What’s your favorite product that our firm sells?” or “Who do you think is our biggest competitor?”. Explain exactly why you’ve chosen them among their competitors, and highlight your previous experiences and skills they may consider valuable.
Don’t make a mistake to discount the importance of a professional appearance. You only get this one shot to make a lasting impression so make it worthwhile. Pick something timeless, simple and professional.
This is worth mentioning once more: until you have an actual employment offer that’s signed, sealed and delivered – keep looking for the opportunities.
Don’t Be Too Picky
We understand that you’ve invested most of your life so far in education and preparation for the career. While we are all hoping for the best, be prepared not to land a dream job right after graduation. If you narrow your search too much, you limit job options which can lead to a long process of getting hired.
Don’t worry if your skills and degree don’t match up exactly to the requirements listed on the job posting. Employers can get surprisingly flexible in their candidate search if they figure you would be the best fit for the company.
On the other hand, don’t run away from internships. They can be a great way for you to get in-depth mentorship in the area related to your academic or career goals. Moreover, internships are a great source of good professional connections. Remember that getting your foot in the door is often a bridge to your dream job. So rather than rejecting job offers that at first seem unfitting or not something that you imagined, consider where any job offer may lead.
Last But Not Least
The job application process can be a lengthy one, you can have ups and downs but as long as you know what you aim for and have an idea in what direction you want to build your career – you are on the right track. In the meantime, you could also check out some specific courses that could build up your CV and help you through the job application process.
We are keeping our fingers crossed! 🙂