9 simple steps to landing the job of your dreams

Wondering how to apply for a job successfully? We’ve got you covered. Follow these 9 simple steps.

Step 1: Figure out what kind of job you’re looking for

Consider both the experience you already have and what kind of position you’re looking for. Would you like to work for a small, mid-size or large company? What day-to-day tasks are you interested in? What kind of education and preparation do you have for these jobs? Taking some time to assess your own profile as a job candidate and to consider what you’re looking for will help refine your job search. It might seem like an unnecessary step, but it will make your search more efficient in the long run.

 

Step 2: Look for job openings

You shouldn’t be looking for job openings in only one place. Many industries have online job opening websites, which are a great place to start. Consider the different companies where you’d like to work and make sure to check if there are any openings at those specific companies. An email to the Human Resources Manager would be a quick way to get your name in and see what kind of openings might be coming up in the future.

 

Step 3: Prioritize where to apply to and which applications to send in first

Once you have a master list of positions you’re looking to apply to, it’s time to narrow down the list and set up some weekly deadlines. Say you want to apply to 3 jobs each week. You should prioritize the positions you’re most interested in and the deadlines that are approaching. Making an Excel sheet or at least a Word document with position information and deadlines is a great way to stay organized and make sure you don’t miss out on applying to any opportunities.

 

how to apply for a job

 

Step 4: Get organized and start applying

Once you have an idea of which applications to prioritize, it’s time to start applying. Make sure you know exactly which documents to send in for each position and dedicate several hours per week to each application. It may be time consuming, but the extra effort and organization will pay off.

 

Step 5: Write a new cover letter and change up your resume for each position

You should not be sending out the same cover letter and resume to each position. Each time you apply for a job you should be tailoring your application documents to a specific position. Look at the job description and see exactly where the job expectations and duties align with the academic and professional experience you already have.

Read the application instructions carefully for each job. Be sure to send in exactly what is asked of you. If you have any doubts about what’s expected, shoot an email to the hiring manager. Also make sure all your documents are sent in with accurate information, without misspellings or grammar errors.

 

how to apply for a job

 

Step 6: Respond promptly to a hiring manager

Show that you’re a responsible and efficient communicator. Once you’ve been asked for an interview, begin the scheduling process as soon as possible. Be sure to schedule your interview at a time you know you’ll be free and, if possible, the time of day you find it easiest to focus.

 

Step 7: Prep for your interview

Practice makes perfect. Come up with 10 or so practice questions and have a friend go through these questions with you. Practice speaking aloud about your work experience, your strengths and weaknesses, what you’re interested in about the position, etc. The more practice you have verbalizing these answers and talking about your own experiences, the more prepared and relaxed you’ll be at the interview and the more confident, professional and together you’ll appear to a hiring manager.

 

Step 8: Nail your interview

Come in well-dressed, well-groomed and smiling. Be cordial and professional throughout each step (don’t bite your nails, swear, tap your feet, etc). Speak clearly and confidently when you answer your interview questions – this should be easy since you’ve been practicing so much. Don’t forget to ask some questions about the position at the end of the interview to show that you’re seriously considering the position.

 

Step 9: Sign your contract

If you’ve been offered a job, don’t say yes immediately before making sure you’re ok with salary, the hours and the overall work expectations. If you know anyone who has worked with the company, you may want to reach out and see how they liked the workplace. If they tell you horror stories, it’s OK to reject a job application. Also, be sure to go over each part of your contract and ask any questions before you sign anything.

 

 

Now you know how to apply for a job successfully, learn more about how to boost your career with an international internship.

 

Photos

1. based on Day 187, Project 365 – 4.28.10, by William Brawley, CC-by-2.0

2. based on Application – pen, by Flazingo Photos, CC-by-SA 2.0

3. based on Manager for a Day, by FTTUB, CC-by-2.0

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Elizabeth Trovall

After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her fourth year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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