We often take job applications for granted, especially if you’ve done it a couple of times or if this isn’t the first time you’re applying for a job. What’s so difficult right – you send a cover letter, you attach your grammar and spelling error free resume, you make sure to emphasise how you really, really want the job and why you’re the best match. So all you have to do is wait and that call to arrange for an interview will come in, right?
Not exactly. First things first – you aren’t the only person looking for a job. And with the quality of talent these days, competition is tough, especially if your results are mediocre and you don’t have any work experience.
What do you need to do then?
Be a smart job seeker and not make any of these rookie mistakes when applying for a job.
#1 Not knowing enough about the company you’re applying for
Whether it is in your cover letter or at the interview stage, showing that you have little or no information about the company you’re applying for means you’re not serious about really wanting to work there. What does i tell the hiring manager? That you’re a graduate who’s trying your luck at any and every job application out there. The person looking at your cover letter can immediately tell if it is a generic cover letter you send to every company, and if you’re asked during the interview why you want to work there but gave a non-committal answer then it’s obvious you’ve not done your research or that you’re not interested in the company after all. Worst if you don’t know much about the position you’re applying for!
#2 Not customising your applications
Sure – you’re applying to nearly the same positions at different companies. What’s so wrong with sending a one size fits all resume, cover letter and submission email? Just the fact that your job search shouldn’t be a one size fits all because each company is different in what they do and what they have to offer. You don’t want to work for just any company. The same goes for the company you’re applying to: They don’t want to hire just any talent. To stand out from the rest, pick one or two things that caught your eye about the company and why this excites you as a job seeker. Relate your own skills and experience to that and talk about how you can help them or why it is in line with your career goals.
#3 Putting all your eggs in just one basket
Overconfident much? Just because you’re an A student or you’ve got a gleaming resume doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get hired. If you’re going about this job application thing by focusing on just one area or just one company, you’re going to be really disappointed when you don’t get that call back you want. It’s good to have your sight on the prize… but it is also important to have some backups just in case. Smart job seekers know that they shouldn’t just bank on one job application; they send out resumes to other companies to suss out what’s available out there so that they are better prepared and know what’s available in the market.
#4 Leaving digital footprints that can harm your chances
OK so you trolled on social media once. You’ve left some really immature comments on a viral post. Hey, you’ve even posted some of your not-so-popular opinion on a heated topic but that’s really your prerogative. Or maybe you’ve dissed a previous boss or a company in one of your not-so-private Facebook post. Who’s actually going to see and read it?
Your potential boss, that’s who. One of the best places to find out more about the person you’re thinking of hiring is on social media. Because nobody really filters their social media… which is valid because it’s your personal space and you should be allowed to write what you feel. Except that some companies might have a problem with that and smart job seekers know this all too well. So they either filter their social media posts or they have a completely private profile for close friends and family only (you don’t want someone who has beef with you to screenshot your post and share it publicly either). And that’s what you should do too if you don’t want to be caught in a “So I saw you wrote this on your Facebook page… care to elaborate” situation during a job interview.
And the one thing that all smart job seekers do….
They treat job hunting for a job!
Make it a point to list down what you want to achieve for the day in your job hunting process. Whether it is to update your resume, scour the internet for job openings or emailing to find out if there’s been any updates to a recent interview you went. Schedule a time each day where you’ll dedicate to applying for jobs. Do your research. Read more about the industry. Talk to those who are in the industry to find out more. Attend networking events, go for career fairs. Your job hunt shouldn’t just start and end in front of your computer or even if it does, it shouldn’t just be about clicking send and saying a prayer. It’s hard work but when you get that call back for your dream job and actually clinch it, it’s all worth it.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash