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Part 2: Applying for Your Next Job

I'm going to give you the best tip for this point in your job-search journey. Are you ready?

In the last article, I covered the basics of applying for work that is relevant to your skills and experience and the importance of catering your application to a particular job. I know it’s extra work and effort, but that is required.

Why, you ask? Long gone are the days where you could do a solid resume, ask your friend’s neighbours or cousin’s girlfriend to put in a good word for you because she knows someone that works at the company. Companies and hiring managers have become smarter, more selective, and applicants have become savvier. Overall, competition has gotten a whole lot tougher and you need to put in the genuine effort to be considered for a role. Might as well come to terms with this right now.

Okay, so you’ve decided to start looking for a job. Great, good on you! Also, good luck, you will need it. Not just you, everyone needs a bit of luck while searching for their next job (along with a great application, patience of a saint, optimism, and wine. I also like to reward myself with chocolate). You may think this is excessive but read on. It’s about to get a lot more complicated than just “looking for a job.” Like I said, patience—I’m all about educating you and being honest about it.

Make the job-search worth your while:

Apply for roles within a reasonable time frame and look for jobs that have recently been advertised. A job that was posted a month ago could potentially already be filled. In order to maximise your job search, I would recommend applying for the most recently advertised roles first. However, this is NOT a hard and fast rule. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply for roles, which have been advertised for a while, just be smart about it. For instance, I would email or call the recruiter and ask if that role is still available and go from there.

I read on LinkedIn once that you should apply for a job within the first three days of the role being advertised, as you will have more of a chance of getting the job. I’m not sure if this information comes from reliable research, but in my experience, this is not a rule that should be followed. It could be good practise to apply for a job within the first three days but then again, if the job has been advertised for 13 days, it doesn’t mean you should avoid it.

Read the job advert and description carefully.

Got that? Should I say that again? Okay, ready?

Read the job description and the job advert and make sure you understand the requirements of the role before you apply. Before investing 40 minutes of your time on a job application, you need to make sure that you know what you are applying for and if you have the skills and attributes that the role calls for.

Some of the things you need to know before you apply are:

  • Which company is it for?
  • What is the nature of the role?
  • Is it part time, full time, casual?
  • Is there a selection criterion that you have to meet and address in your cover letter?
  • What are the prerequisites of the role, if any?
  • Who is the contact person on the advert?

So many questions, my head hurts! It’s okay. You need to know all of this because you want to make sure you are applying for the right role for you and your circumstances and also, one that you are suitable for. It’s a two-way street.

I'm going to give you the best tip for this point in your job-search journey. Are you ready? 

Keep a record of the company name, phone number (if available) and the name of job role you applied for. Why? Glad you asked!

When you start getting calls from unknown numbers, let it ring out. The recruiter will leave a voice mail message with their contact details (side note: ensure you record a professional voice mail greeting). The only time this doesn’t work is if the caller has set their number on private. If that is the case, you are better off answering and politely saying you can’t talk right now but will call them back in 10 minutes.

Before you call the recruiter, ensure you know what company and role the call is regarding. Also, do a five minute web search on the company. That way, when you call the person back, you will appear organised, well researched, and professional. There is nothing worse than getting caught out and not knowing what job the recruiter is talking about. The “I have applied for so many roles in the last week” excuse is the worst thing you could say. Recruiters want to feel special; like you only applied for the job that they are calling you about. We are pretty selfish, I know. Jokes aside, you want to appear enthusiastic and motivated for that particular role. Admitting that you are desperate to get any job is unflattering and a turnoff. Besides, it is a pretty good feeling nailing a phone interview and leaving a good impression on the recruiter. 

Until next time,

The HR Graduate