How to Apply for a Job Post Grad
It’s not really a matter of applying for the job:
Via Monster, Indeed or ZipRecruiter with that swelteringly hot resume that includes Zeta Theta Psi and the Dean’s List and that Fortune 500 company-internship with additional Study Abroad experience… (though all of these things surely don’t hurt, and you should try as best possible to make a professional resume to differentiate yourself from the increasingly competitive cohort that is workforce 2020).
It’s really more a matter of applying yourself.
That means working hard — nonstop, even — to achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself. It doesn’t really matter which university you went to or which organizations you chartered. It matters the discipline that was created along the way – the integrity and diligence – to see through a project you started.
It matters if you finish.
And that’s about it.
In my search to find a place for my career, I’m realizing that knowing how to write a resume doesn’t matter as much as it appears. Sure, it needs to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye; symmetrical with clearly defined highlights of skills and experience. And yes, I was shooting for that Instagram resume myself (see ‘swelteringly hot’ above), but I found that I received more response when I applied myself more, with greater care and attention to detail to what I was submitting.
Each application receives its own tailored cover-letter, each resume, the same. I review the jobs I want and I make a catalog of the ones I qualify for and feel interested in.
But most importantly, I keep going. I don’t let my insecurities get the best of me – I don’t worry about the next best applicant; I keep going, I find the right opportunity for me and I continue in my search.
I don’t apply excessively; I want to be sure that when the right opportunity responds to me, it’ll be an opportunity that I chose first, backed with thorough research and interest.
Sometimes, when struck with a sudden burst of excitement, I’ll stay up late into the morning, sometimes until 4am, applying and researching and comparing and compiling and researching some more. It becomes a frenzy, that (I must admit) I enjoy.
I treat the job-application process like the job I want: from 9:00am – 5:00am each Sunday (or every other Sunday, pace is a virtue), and during the week after work. I spend at least 12 hours each week diligently searching for the right job that fits me: I go to Starbucks, or the library or I stay home and pop in Matilda for some extra magical inspiration.
And the next day, just as the dawn kisses the sun to rise, my sleeping beauty awakes to a treat far grander than a prize betwixt pillow and sheet: a nonstop stream of response.
Via email and text, voicemail and LinkedIn alike, recruiters pour in, seeking my hard work and diligence. And then come the phone interviews, and second round interviews, and before you know it, I’m sitting face to face with my employer.
(I must note that the happily-ever-after in this context isn’t whether or not you get the job. In fact, when entering the interview phase, I advise you to conduct thorough research, prior to the interview, across multiple channels so that you’ll be ready to ask the right questions and negotiate the right deal. This is a business deal after all, and you shouldn’t force business simply to achieve your happy-ending. The best happy ending comes to those who are patient enough to wait for the opportunity that’s just right for them.)
It matters more in life that the challenge be tackled, than it does how you tackle the challenge. And so it does in the job hunt: worry less about if — and more about when – your next job is around the corner. It’s already here, you just need to saddle up your bootstraps and catch it.
QUICK TIPS ON TIER I JOB APPLICATIONS
Quantify your resume.Illustrate the change and impact you’ve had in your previous professional role through the numbers.
Use action verbs. The only concern is in what you did.
Highlight key elements. Give a brief picture of your work experience, to be elaborated later (ya know, in the interview). Your resume is the trailer, not the movie.
Don’t lie. Speak to what you know. Getting the job means it’s time to deliver, make sure not to secure the job on false promises — don’t get fired before you’ve been hired.
Customize your resume. There are enough Jane Does out there; recruiters want to see you. After all, they are hiring the person, not the skill. Give your employer a chance to see your creative thinking through a resume tailored to your voice. The best resume examples are the best personal stories.
Always include a cover letter. Remember back in the day, when our grandparents had to go into the company’s headquarters, introduce themselves, create a contact, then go back in to turn in their handwritten application? Yeah that’s still a thing. These days it’s called the cover letter. Personalized letters will always be in. It gives your employer the opportunity to see where you’re coming from, and what you’ve been through that can be an asset to their company. It’s your time to shine, don’t waste it in favor of the easy-apply button.
Don’t send in more than is necessary with your job application. If the easy-apply button is your employer’s approach, awesome. Just zip in your resume and wait for them to contact you.
Do your research. Applying for jobs that you’re not qualified for is a bad look. It means that you don’t really care about the company — you’re just looking for your next meal. Employers want people who are equally invested in them as they are in us.
Be prompt in your response. If you’ve made it to the follow up, follow up! Don’t have your potential employer waiting on you — there’s a whole bin of potential applicants waiting to crawl into your follow-up spot. Don’t give them that chance.
Be yourself. No one can be a better you. Let yourself shine during the application process. Don’t take no for an answer and continue to apply for the position you want. And most importantly, capitalize on your journey. No one has had your experiences — they are unique in every way and have made you the capable person that you are now. Let these moments emanate through your application, and in your interview. Educate your employer through your personal journey.