Everything you need to know about applying for a job

Hello there beloved unemployed/hates-their-job reader, and welcome to Everything You Need to Know! On this episode of EYNK, we’ll be discussing everything you need to know about applying for a job. From building a resume all the way to what underwear to wear to the interview, we have everything you need to get you ready for the job market.

Now everyone knows jobs are stressful and time-consuming – hell I’m doing mine right now – but you have to have one. How else will you buy food, shelter, and an internet connection that will let you come check your favorite website, Men’s Trait? But employers aren’t just giving them away. When it comes to applying for a job, putting in a little effort now can make you stand far above the crowd later when it finally comes time for your new boss to decide who they want to hire.

Resume, Resume, Resume

Ah, the resume, all of your life’s achievements boiled down to a single piece of paper. Having a good resume is what gets your foot in the door when applying for a job. For some people with a particularly long list of jobs, skills, and education, it can get the whole leg through. But even those who have never had work experience before can still create a professional and impressive resume.

If you’ve never made a resume before, try checking out one of these helpful sites for building a resume from scratch. Even programs like Microsoft Word come with a number of different template options for building a new resume.

Don’t worry if you don’t have enough information to fill out a whole sheet of paper, just put down what you can, and fill the rest with an “About Me” section. If you don’t necessarily have the skills for the job you’re applying for, then what you are trying to sell instead is yourself. Demonstrate how you are a quick learner, or a hard worker, or even simply mentioning that you are punctual will go a long way.

Alternatively, if you find yourself with dozens of jobs to list down the resume and no room to cram them all in, take a step back. Rather than including every job you’ve had since you were 16, just list the last three or four jobs you’ve had. Better yet, look at what type of job you’ll be applying for and then pick and choose from your past experience jobs that might have some overlapping skills.

Once you have your resume in hand, give it a once over and remember these tips:

  • If able, list your profession at the top of the page below your name. This is both an excellent way of letting employers know what type of resume they are looking at, and also shows a level of dedication to your job since you use it as part of your identity. If you are in school, put down the job you want to have or identify yourself as “Student”.
  • Be sure to talk about any skills gained or responsibilities held at previous jobs in an active voice. Instead of “Was responsible for . . .” simply put “Responsible for . . .” The active voice, while not always good English, is direct, to the point, and will make your resume stand out from others.
  • If you don’t have much experience outside fo your education, list some of the classes you’ve taken and the skills you’ve gained from them. Simply putting down that you’re a Bussiness major is much less impactful than listing that you have studied accounting, financing, and marketing principles.

Finding a Job in the Digital Age

Now that you have your master crafted resume in hand, we have to find you a place to use it. Fortunately we live in the digital age, meaning that there are literally thousands of job offers just a few clicks away. But before we start sending emails left and right, another part of living in the digital age is being digitally professional. What I’m talking about is your email address and social media accounts.

No matter how great your resume is, if the employer wants to respond to you and sees that your email address is “[email protected]” they aren’t going to hire you. Avoid the use of nicknames, slang, and vulgarity in your email. Even if it a nice address like “[email protected]” shows a degree of unprofessionalism. If this is you, create a new email for work purposes. “[email protected]” is just fine, “[email protected]” is a great way of showing your education to an employer, but best of all would be “[email protected]”. Buying your own domain name is an excellent way of investing in your own future. You can find more tips on creating a professional email address here.

In regard to social media, you’re crazy if you think that employers don’t look at your Twitter account before making a hiring decision. A recent survey shows that over 60% of employers use social media to screen job candidates, and that number is only on the rise. So what do you need to do to make sure that your social media profiles aren’t sabotaging your chances at getting a job?

  • Don’t mention illegal drugs. If that sounds obvious to you, good. But in case it wasn’t, there it is. Leave it off social media.
  • Anything sexual should also be left off of your accounts.
  • Avoid profanity.
  • Mentioning alcohol, while not viewed as negatively as drugs, can also be a cause for concern.
  • Bad spelling and grammar.

Now that we’ve cleaned up your online presence, start hitting those job sites. Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, and SimplyHired are all excellent sites that offer a broad range of search options to narrow down the job you’re looking for. There are also many websites that are catered specifically towards one industry, so if you are looking for a job in your field, then one of those will best serve you.  Even sites like Craigslist can be an excellent source for finding a job near you.

Remember while searching through job listings to not let any of the listed “requirement for this position” to scare you away. Even if you aren’t exactly what they are looking for, go ahead and send them your resume. Most companies are only describing their “ideal” candidate, but down here in the real world they are more than happy to work with someone who doesn’t necessarily meet their candidate wishlist. The worst that can happen when you apply for a job is receiving a polite email that says no. There is no reason not to apply for a job you are interested in.

The Interview

Oh my gosh! You did it! My little baby boy got an interview! I’m so proud of you! But now you’re facing down the last and greatest hurdle finally getting a job. The interview can make or break any job candidate, but don’t worry. You’ve made it this far, all that’s left is to seal the deal. How do you do it?

First, start studying. Once you have scheduled an interview, do some research on the company and the person performing the interview if you can. What do they do? Why are they hiring someone? What makes you the person to fill that role? Having an understanding of the company’s goals and office culture before even being hired shows that you respect them, that you are serious about this job, and that you are willing to go the extra mile when it comes to your work.

On the day of the interview itself, appearance is going to matter a lot. We may not be supposed to judge books by their cover, but we certainly judge people by them. This will be your future employers first impression of you, it is important to make it a good one. Take a shower, throw on some cologne (not too much), and make those pearly whites shine. Make your hair look professional, and if you’re considering working in the food industry, consider getting it cut short.

Now what are you going to wear? An old adage states “Dress for the job you want.” To that point, make sure that what you are wearing matches the job you’ll be applying for. You don’t always need to wear a three-piece suit. Look back at the research you’ve done on the company. Are they a very formal business? Well better bust out the suit. Are they more laid back? Then business casual is fine. When in doubt, nothing says “hire me” more than slacks, a button up shirt, and a tie.

Clothes? Check. Arrived early? Check. Okay, interview time. Are you ready for the big secret? The one piece fo advice that will let you nail any interview? Here it is . . .

Relax.

That cannot be stressed enough. If you can take a few deep breaths and enter into an interview calm, secure, and confident, you will be hired. It is understandable to be nervous about an interview, but if you spend the entire time stressed out and fidgeting, your chances of getting this job are going to go downhill.

“But how am I supposed to relax? I have to get this job!”

I understand, I do, but you can’t think that way going in. People want to work with those who are calm under pressure, and there is a lot of pressure during an interview. Demonstrate that you have the essential skill of keeping a cool head, and you’ll be filling out your paperwork with HR in no time.

Here are some ways to relax during an interview:

  • Clench your butt. No, I’m serious. If you find yourself being shaky or fidgety, clench that mother. It’s almost physically impossible to have shaky hands while clenching your butt, fact.
  • Be yourself. Being your authentic, natural self comes, well, naturally. It’s much more stressful to be on your best behavior, rather than simply being comfortable in who you are.
  • Get the other person talking. If the interviewer is just asking you questions, then your “interview” has become an “interrogation”. You’ll find yourself much more relaxed if you get the discussion going both ways.

You’re Hired

And that’s Everything You Need to Know about applying for a job. While searching for a new job can be stressful, don’t let yourself be intimidated. Give the old resume a polish and send it out into the wild, soon enough you will have plenty of job offers headed your way. Just stay calm and believe in yourself. Because when it comes to job hunting, that’s what you’re selling, you. And you know better than anyone, that your best thing there ever is or ever will be. All that’s left is to convince your future employer of the very same thing.

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Justin Horner

Justin, or as his friends call him, Justin, is a content provider at 301 Digital Media and a student at Middle Tennessee State University. He loves to read, use big words, and is nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is.