Knowing When and Where to Apply


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Let’s be honest: job searches are stressful. Whether you are currently gainfully employed and just looking for a better opportunity, or have been out of work for months and are worried about how you will pay your bills, scouring help wanted ads and putting yourself out there for work is time consuming and anxiety inducing. Nobody really enjoys this part, but it has to be done if you are hoping to find yourself in a new role soon.

Still, there are ways to reduce some of that stress, starting with how you go about making your application decisions.

Quality vs. Quantity

One of the mistakes a lot of job seekers make is in thinking that they are better off applying for as many openings as possible. They convince themselves they are hedging their bets by throwing their hat in the ring for any and every opportunity that might potentially be something they could see themselves doing. The problem is that this approach often means losing a lot of quality in the application process. They are haphazardly sending copy and paste cover letters and failing to pay complete attention to the requirements of the job at hand.

Applying like this creates two problems. The first is that you waste your time applying and interviewing for jobs you may not actually want, and the second is that you send out subpar applications for jobs you might actually be perfect for. Instead of applying for every opportunity you come across, be discerning about where you send those applications to – focus on customizing your cover letter and resume to the jobs you are truly interested in, and on passing over the opportunities that probably wouldn’t make you happy in the long run.

Find Your “In”

Networking is forever important when it comes to working your way up the career ladder, but it is easy enough to argue that it serves its greatest purpose during a job search. Making and maintaining those connections with others in your industry can mean getting a heads up when new openings are around the corner and having an internal recommendation for position that might have a lot of competition.

Obviously, if you are currently employed, you want to be careful about who you let know that you are looking elsewhere. But good networking means knowing who your friends are and being able to find your “in” to corporations where you would really like to get your foot in the door. Even if you aren’t currently looking, you should always be trying to make those ties – because you never know when they could come in handy down the line.

Follow Instructions

Pay attention to job postings and to a company’s preferred method of applying. A lot of job seekers make the mistake of thinking that all they have to do to get an interview is turn in a really great resume and cover letter. In some cases, this is absolutely true. But if a job posting dictates filling out an application as well, you need to be sure you are doing so to completion. Don’t write “see resume” on every line or skip the application entirely, purely because you believe your resume covers all the questions asked. Follow a company’s protocol and show you have respect for their way of doing this by applying with their preferred method. This includes paying attention to deadlines and filling out those applications online when requested – many companies today like to maintain online databases of applicants for future job openings.

 

About Kylie Hammond
Executive Search Consultant, Head-Hunter, HR Consultant, Executive Career Coach, Expert Resume Writer & Executive Talent Agent.

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