STEP TWO to Getting the Interview: APPLY


Once your resume has been created, reviewed, and perfected, it’s time to start applying for positions. Recruitment agencies, job search engines, job boards, and social media networks are good starting places. These sites can also be overwhelming and make you want to throw in the towel on your job search altogether. Some platforms are more reputable than others. Some sites focus on a specific industry, role, or experience level. Other sites are geared towards any professional searching for any position at any point in his or her career. There are job search engines designed for users to upload a resume and search through a database. Some users only want to upload a resume or only search through a database, and those job boards exist too. It’s hard to know what route will prove to be the most successful for your individualized job search when flooded with so many options. When you look for a new position, data from Indeed recommends casting a wide net. On average, people will apply to 20 positions (on Indeed) over three months before accepting a job offer. There are about 250 other people submitting applications for that same role.

A helpful resource to check out when beginning your career search are staffing agencies. Similar to job sites, there are a variety of recruitment agencies. Some recruiters work with employers in a specific industry, such as creative agencies looking for marketing gurus, finance firms hiring auditors, or technology companies seeking developers. Other agencies cover positions that span across several industries, like corporate business positions. Some staffing firms, like Career Professionals, work with individuals who recently graduated college and have less than five years of experience. Others specialize in executive-level roles. You’ll want to seek out a recruitment agency that specializes in the type and level of role you are searching for. Recruiters have formed relationships with employers, so they know what type of candidate the employer is looking to hire. This allows you to save time and speed up the job search process because a recruiter won’t present you with opportunities you aren’t qualified for or interested in. A huge benefit to job placement agencies is remaining involved and informed throughout the hiring process. If an employer isn’t interested in bringing you in for an interview, your recruiter will let you know. Then, the recruiter takes the feedback from an employer and shows you other opportunities that could be a good fit until you receive and accept a job offer. When you find the right recruitment agency for you, much of the hassle and headache of job searching is eliminated. Your recruiter reminds you that you are not alone in your job search and can provide much needed support.

Indeed, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster, and your college career site offer online resumes and job databases. When creating your online resume, you can either upload an existing document or fill in the required fields free form. Information such as your name, contact information, education, and experience populate into the respective fields if you upload a resume. You might lose certain aspects of your resume’s formatting if you go this route. Bullet points and spacing don’t always transfer from the uploaded PDF or Word Document to the required fields. The phrases on your resume can get jumbled and information can be entered in the wrong field. For example, your education might end up under the experience section or vice versa. Check for these common occurrences before saving your online resume or applying for any position. It’s worth the extra time to make sure your online resume is as polished and as professional as the PDF or Word Document version of your resume. It could be the difference that gets you the interview! As mentioned in a previous post, employers will often pass over a resume that contains errors.

Exploring career databases is the next step before applying for a job. You can learn more about general requirements and responsibilities for the type of role you are interested in. After reading through a few job descriptions, you will learn if you are qualified for the type of role you are searching for, or if you need to adjust your search terms. You could be searching for a mid-level role, such as an Inside Sales Representative or Account Manager (which often requires prior experience), when searching for an entry-level Business Development Representative or Sales Associate role is more appropriate for your first job out of college. Once you’ve narrowed down your search terms and found a position you are ready to apply for, do some research! Check out Glassdoor or Google for reviews. Social media and networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn also offer company information. Glassdoor highlights company rating from reviews, interview processes, employee salaries, available jobs, and other company information. By searching the company on Google, you can find recent news articles, press releases, and user reviews. This information can help you determine if the company would be a good fit. You might find your dream job posted on Indeed. It has all the right responsibilities and requirements with your target salary in the industry you want. Then, you hop on Glassdoor and read from employees that the role requires working 10+ hours/day, and you are looking for a position that has more work-life balance and flexibility. This will save you from spending the time applying and hoping to get an interview, only to find out what you could have in a simple Internet search.

You invested time and energy into finding a recruitment firm or role that checks off most of the requirements on your list. You did your research and are confident you are a positive match for the opening. You want the job. Now what? Apply! See if you know anyone at the company that can provide an introduction. Find out who the hiring manager is and reach out. Get your resume or application in front of a recruiter. Check your email or the messaging system on the site you used to apply for the opening regularly for status updates or invitations for an interview. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back from your application. The company could be in the final stages of interviewing their top two candidates the day you submit your application. They might have already extended an offer and are waiting to hear from the candidate before setting up more interviews. It’s possible a requirement is mandatory, and you don’t have that one necessary skill. Job hunting is a job in itself. Your hard work and dedication will pay off. It might take more time than you thought. You might get a headache or two (or three or four). You are going to receive rejection letters. You will ultimately accept a position that both you and your future employer deem to be a good fit. Remember, you don’t have to accept the first offer that comes your way. At the end of the day, an employer or recruiter is rooting for the candidate who receives the job offer to succeed, so don’t take a job you aren’t 100% excited for or can’t see yourself excelling at. Keep your head up and persevere through your job search until you receive an offer you are satisfied with. It’s your future, make sure you are in the driver seat.

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