The A to Z of Job Applications and Interviews
So here we are. You’ve got your résumé straight, feeling yourself with that professional headshot on your LinkedIn, and are ready to submit job applications and interview. But how do you do that in a way that sets you apart from the other folks? We’ll be the first to admit that a lot of advice is outdated in today’s job economy, but we’ve got some tried and true pointers for you below.
What to do when applying for jobs:
- Finding Job Opportunities. Most any position or hiring manager in the digital age is accessible online. Choose901 made a private page just for you that you can find here, but once you know what opportunities/organizations you are looking for, their career pages are most of the time accessible from their website. Major Key Alert: Don’t underestimate the power of in-person interactions! Young people can set themselves apart from the rest of the field by having the courage to talk with a company or hiring manager in person.
- References/Recommendation Letters. A lot of job applications require you to include 1-3 references based on the position. Be very strategic about who you put down as a reference; your momma may love you, but unless she can speak first hand to your work experience you may want to leave her out on this one. When using references and recommendation letters, remember these two things:
- Always remind your references when you put them down on an application so they know what’s coming if someone reaches out to them.
- Keep a recommendation letter or two on hand from some trusted mentors that you can submit to any position.
- Review. Job applications can be long, hard and tedious. Don’t lose heart. Let a close friend or mentor read over what you’ve got before you submit it. Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up, but stay humble and true to yourself.
- FOLLOW UP. Many times the person with the most skills doesn’t win, but the person who wants it bad enough. A lot of times, employers are looking for applicants to show initiative and passion in their desire to work for them.
How to handle job interviews:
- Be yourself, for real for real. The community needs who you really are. During the interview and interacting with a potential employer, be confident and definitely talk about your strengths and passions, but don’t ever feel the need to pretend or fit a mold that you think they will like. You want a company to hire the real you so that you can be true to you during your time at work.
- But what should I wear?? Do the research to observe what you would be wearing during the job. If you are applying for a position at a restaurant, what will you be doing? If you are a host/hostess, you may want to dress it up a little bit. If you will be working in the kitchen, you can be more casual but still represent yourself well. In addition, keep these things in mind:
- Keep them mints on deck. Nothing is more distracting than your hot breath.
- Pay close attention to the details. Shirts and blouses are ironed. Tie is on point. Hair is on fleek. Waves are flowing and the hairline is crispy. You get the picture.
- Arrive to the interview way before it starts. Give yourself cushion time to make mistakes and find the office and the right department. There are few things that are more detrimental to you as a candidate than arriving late to one of your first interactions with an organization.
- Do your homework. What is every aspect of the position and company you can find online and through other people? One of the most impressive things you can do is know your stuff—not just about you, but the company that you are applying to as well. What other branches do they have? What skills do you need for the role? The more you know, the better chance you have.
- Ask questions! You are interviewing the organization just as much as they are interviewing you. We’ve all been in positions where we just need to make money, so if that’s the case we get it. But if you are comfortable with your coins, make sure you come prepared with 3-5 questions to ask your interviewers, like these:
- What would success look like in this job?
- What are the goals you have for your company/organization in the next 3-5 years?
- How would you describe the culture of your organization?
- FOLLOW UP. Again, how bad do you want it? Show them that you care with a handwritten note, or a follow-up email or phone call. Every interview is a chance to meet someone new who could help you build your career, whether it works out now or not.
Of course, always let Joi, Keenan, and Travis know if you need any help with job applications or interviews. We’re here to help you apply, be a reference, provide transportation to the interview and anything else you need. We can’t assist if you don’t ask!