The national unemployment rate held at 8.2 percent in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With so many people looking for work, you may be wondering how to apply for a job and have the best chance of landing it.
Personal experience — and the combined advice of a number of job-search resources — tells us any successful job application requires four things:
Honesty – In such a competitive job market, it can be tempting to fudge facts a bit if you think it will give you an edge. Yet honesty consistently makes the list of top qualities employers want most in a job candidate. More than one high-profile professional has very publically been ousted from a job when fabrications on their resumes were discovered. Honesty should also include being candid about your credit, if a potential employer asks because some employers are able to check candidates credit reports.
Preparation – Do your homework when you’re applying for a job. Research the company and its products or services online so you’ll not only know what the company does, you’ll have a better idea of whether you’re a good fit for the job. Take pertinent materials to the interview, like a copy of your resume (even if you’ve already emailed, faxed or snail mailed a dozen copies) and work samples, if appropriate. Also, don’t forget a pen! Changing jobs requires plenty of planning and preparation. Be diligent in your search and something will come through.
Professionalism – No matter what job you’re applying for – short order cook or director of operations – professionalism is always appropriate throughout every step of the application process. From sending a polished, well-written resume with your initial application to showing up for the interview in appropriate workplace attire, be professional and courteous throughout your interactions.
Tactful persistence – In today’s job market, it’s not enough to simply land an interview, because chances are the company is interviewing multiple candidates. You’ll need to be persistent to get the answer you want, but be sure to do so tactfully. Follow up the interview with a handwritten thank you note to everyone you spoke to – or an email if you have their addresses. A week after the interview, a polite call should be OK, unless the interviewer specifically told you not to call, or shared a hiring timeline with you that would mean no decision had yet been made.