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Ace Your Next Job Application With These Do’s & Don’ts

If there was ever a year to start reaching for your goals like never before, it’s 2021. With 2020 in the past, it’s time to act on all the plans you’ve been making for the future and start living your best life! For many people, securing that career-boosting job is the first step to doing so. Although the job hunt can be super intimidating and can lead to a lot of frustration, have no fear! I’ve come up with a list of three do’s and don’ts for your upcoming job hunt so you can go after your goals with the boss-babe mindset you were always meant to have — and with all the confidence that comes with it.

So, let’s get right to the tips and tricks so you can get a head start on chasing your dreams!

DO…

1. Have a brief “About Me” answer prepared

“So, tell us about yourself.” Sound familiar? Oddly enough, one of the most frequently asked questions during a job interview can easily be the one that is least prepared for! For your next interview, be sure to practice how you would answer this question while keeping in mind how you can best express your candidacy for the job. Make sure to include details about your past experiences that would relate to the job you’re applying for, as well as examples of achievements you’re proud of and other skills you’ve improved!

2. Reach out to your LinkedIn network for a coffee chat

This tip is super helpful when you are interested in a company and want to learn more about what it’s like to actually work there during the application stage! Life hack: search the company you’re applying to on LinkedIn and check out what people from your university or college already work there. No luck? Reach out to the person with your dream role at the company and ask to see how they have navigated their career. A short and professional message explaining why you are reaching out and a little bit about your education and previous work experience should do the trick!

Don’t be afraid to be upfront about your goals, either. This will give you so much valuable knowledge and get you acquainted with the employees even before receiving an offer!

3. Contact the company you’re interested in ahead of time

Cold-emailing can be one of the most low-key job hunting tactics out there, but it can have huge benefits if the situation calls for it. If you have been waiting for your dream company to post a job that you would be fit for and are aware that they have an internship program or are looking for talent, try contacting their HR department through their website if they provide an email (usually on a page titled “careers” or “jobs”). Normally, companies will indicate that they are open to receiving emails of this nature by sharing their email with an encouragement to reach out (i.e. “We are always looking for new talent so feel free to contact us here!”). 

If you can’t find an email or are unsure if it would be appropriate to reach out, see tip #2! If you choose to send an email, reach out  by letting them know why you are emailing, what your past experience is, and attach your resume. If they are hiring, you will be the first to know! Bonus tip: try to focus your email on the ways that you feel that YOU could bring value to the company, rather than simply asking for a job.

DON’T…

1. Forget to follow up & SAY THANK YOU

This is a common mistake, simply because the post-interview nerves can get a little overwhelming at times! To prevent this from getting in the way of making a stellar impression, set a reminder on your phone to email a “Thank You” to your interviewer 15 minutes after you anticipate your interview will end. In your note, you should aim to include something relevant to the conversation you had with your interviewer to demonstrate something you were particularly interested in, as well as thanking them for their time and to contact you should they have any further questions. If you had a group interview, the same rule still applies!

Don’t have your interviewer’s email? Follow up with your point of contact at the company and ask if you can have your interviewers email to send a thank-you note.

2. Focus entirely on yourself during the interview

Again, this is an honest mistake but it is something that can be crucial to avoid. Don’t forget that an interview is just as much an opportunity for you to learn about the company as it is an opportunity for the company to learn about you! With this in mind, come prepared with some questions to ask your interviewer about what it is like working at the company, their favorite parts of the job, and some of the challenges they face, among others.

Avoid questions such as “how many vacation days do I get?” or asking about employee discounts. These can be important, but save them for after you are offered the job when negotiating your contract.

3. Ignore the specific skills required for the role

This might seem obvious, but ensuring that the specific skills required for the role align with what you have written on your resume will make it much easier for recruiters to flag your resume for the job. If you have the skills described, don’t be afraid to use some of the key words used in the job description on your resume to stand out amongst applicants and fully illustrate your candidacy for the role!

With these tips and tricks, I have full confidence that you can ace your next job hunt and land the role of your dreams. You got this! Remember to tag us on Instagram and mention us on Twitter using @hercampus to let us know how your job hunt is going. We’re rooting for you!

Avery Steeves

Western '22

Hello! My name is Avery and I am a student and Style Writer from Toronto, Canada. I go to Western University where I study Media and Communications. When I am not hanging out in the library or going on MUCH needed coffee runs in between class, I can be found surfing Instagram and Pinterest for fashion inspo, listening to podcasts (my favourite is the Work Party podcast), or pursuing my love of writing here on Her Campus!
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