Applying for a Job - Top Ten Tips
By Steve Gillman
I wouldn't always recommend applying for a job, since for
many people there are better ways to make a living, but there
are times when you have to do what is necessary. With that in
mind and recalling my experiences with the many jobs I have had
over the years, here are ten tips to make the success of your
application more likely.
1. Write your cover letter for the specific company.
It is so easy to rewrite a cover letter with word processing
programs, and so much easier to do research thanks to the internet,
that you should make a new cover letter for each company you
apply at. Get online, go to their website and click that "about
us" link. Find something that you like about the company
or its history and mention that in your letter. Let them know
that you know about them--what they do and what makes them different
from the competition.
2. Modify your resume as necessary.
Again, it is easy to have a basic resume in your computer
files, and then modify it to suit each place you send it to.
Emphasize the experience and skills that are most relevant to
that employer. Address the specific company or organization in
the cover letter and tailor your resume as well, and you will
stand out among applicants.
3. Tell potential employers what you can do for them.
Don't bother with why you want the job, unless it ties in
nicely with why they should want you. You are selling yourself,
not as a good or interesting person, but as an asset to the employer.
Make it clear why they will benefit from hiring you. Do this
in the resume and in your interview as well.
4. Just the facts...
Don't make many vague or unsubstantiated claims about yourself
or your history, like "I work well with others," or
"I have helped boost profits for previous employers."
Cite specific examples and use facts and numbers. If you reduced
expenses for a past employer, explain exactly how you did it
and how much the savings amounted to. Again, you can do this
in a resume or in a face-to-face interview.
5. Ask questions.
Most people like to tell you about their business, so let
them. Listen carefully to gain clues as to what they are looking
for in an employee, so you can continue to tailor your sales
6. Don't talk too much about yourself.
Answer questions as thoroughly as necessary, but don't volunteer
more than an interviewer wants or needs. Remember that the interview
is not about your life, but about why you can help the employer
in his or her goals. And your work history is there in the resume,
so don't bring it up except as it is relevant to the question
7. Use visual aids if you have them.
If you have photos, charts or printed information which help
demonstrate what you have done for past employers--and these
materials are relevant to what you can do for this employer--use
8. Dress appropriately.
When applying for a job, prior to the interview, see what
kind of clothing is worn by supervisors and dress like them.
Looking too formal can turn off a builder, for example, just
as dressing in jeans will hurt your chances of being hired for
an office job.
9. Ask for a decision.
When you are done interviewing, ask politely when a decision
will be made and get a phone number you can call to check back
with them when the time comes.
10. Offer an alternative.
If after applying for a job you are turned down, but you think
the interview went well, consider offering to work on a trial
basis. Depending on the type of work this could mean doing some
contract work or just being hired for a 30-day "test."
You have nothing to lose once you get that "no" anyhow,
and some employers will be impressed with your persistence and