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Job applications are arguably the most challenging and frustrating thing that many of us have to deal with in our professional careers. Without the right formula we may send out hundreds of applications without more than a couple responses. As the number of applications sent out pile up, our efforts can feel increasingly arbitrary.
Perfecting job applications starts with a few main points including refining your resume, doing your research on jobs you really care about, and presenting yourself in a professional manner.
Refining Your Resume
Building your resume for the first time, or even updating if it has been a while, is a whirlwind. Not only do we have to remember all of the things we’ve accomplished that are resume-worthy, but we also have to adjust formatting to keep everything professional. Luckily, there are some sites that provide vast quantities of free, professional resume downloads.
Beginning with a template can take half the work out of making your resume look like you put significant effort into planning it. Small things like this can go a long way towards impressing a potential employer. In fact, the vast majority of applicants are disregarded because their resumes are not up to par. Strong resumes are key to landing an interview!
Research the Job
A huge number of job applicants make the mistake of failing to customize their cover letter, resume, and other application materials. Remember, it is far better to spend a lot of time making one application perfect that it is to send out over 50 bland applications. There are many reasons customizing your application improves your chances including because it shows you are genuinely interested in the position.
In certain situations, customization can play a pivotal role in helping clarify how qualified for a job you are, for example if you are listing self-employment on a resume. Most hiring managers have no idea how to quantify the work accomplished by self-employed individuals so it will be important to detail skills you have acquired, concrete examples of your work, and explicit explanation of how it relates to the job you’re applying to.
Present Yourself as a Professional
Finally, within every document you submit for a job application, be certain you are coming across in a professional manner. It is critical to portray yourself as a person who will take the work at hand seriously, meet deadlines on time, and communicate with clients and fellow employees in an accessible way. Employers want to know they are hiring someone they can count on, not the next lovable office-mate that actually never accomplishes any work.
Professionalism is especially important if you are like a growing number of Americans who are applying for work as independent contractors. Many businesses are quickly adapting to using freelance workers and other independent contractors to complete a number of shorter term special projects. Independent contractors are generally hired based upon their reputation and the quality of work they can produce, which means if they are not professional they are out of a job.
As you dive into applications for your career, it is important to get the key elements right. Be sure to submit a professional resume; if you’re not sure how to start consider downloading a template. Make certain you take the time to communicate to potential employers that you are the right person to hire by doing your research. And always, always act as professionally as possible.