Whether you’re a teen looking for a summer job, or a more “mature” individual who’s ready to leave the cubicle for greener pastures, the job application process remains the same. Accordingly, it’s always useful to take a refresher course in job search basics. Lucky for you, I posted a special Job Search Series last summer and have included some highlights below. Be sure to read the full posts for all the juicy bits.
Work on your resume before anything else. Keep in mind that you need to keep it clean: both in the sense of providing honest information about yourself and also presenting it in a clear, easy-to-read manner. Resumes usually garner only a 15-30 second scan, so you want your potential employer to see the best of you immediately.
Your cover letter is your resume’s best friend. You need a good cover letter if you want a potential employer to even glance at your resume. Keep it short and sweet, and sound both confident and gracious. Most importantly, research the company beforehand so you can show the employer that you’re familiar with their values.
If you passed the previous two tests, you can expect a phone interview. In fact, it’s crucial that you expect the phone call; otherwise, you’ll sound unprepared to the interviewer. Since you and the interviewer can’t see each other, pay attention to the tone and rhythm of the conversation. Speak loud and clear, be enthusiastic, and be articulate in your responses.
Next up is the job interview. Your goal is to convince the interviewer that you are technically qualified for the job and a good fit for the company’s culture. How do you do that? Practice a lot beforehand, arrive on time (and dressed professionally), make eye contact, sit up straight, and be positive. Additionally, know your resume like the back of your hand and be ready to explain anything and everything on it.
The finishing touch on the job application process is the thank you letter. Send a short note thanking the interviewer for their time as soon as possible after the interview. The note (e-mail is okay, but real paper is even better) will show that you’re courteous and set you one step above the candidates who didn’t send thank you letters. Your goal is to make yourself memorable. Remember that and you’ll be hired in no time!
On the Job Search! Sufen Wang, Wang Solutions