How to Apply for Jobs


Photographs courtesy of Photo by Pixabay

Being able to successfully apply for jobs is a huge part of integrating oneself fully into the “adult world.” In such a highly competitive environment, employers use algorithms to instantaneously filter out the prospective employees with problem areas: incomplete or poorly-done resumes, inappropriate social media content and obsolete profiles, among other things. Luckily for students, these problems are entirely solvable.

According to Angela Evans, assistant director of the Career Development Center, the most common mistake that students make in this process is not establishing their personal “brand.” They may not make it clear who they are, what they’ve accomplished in the past, and what positive growth employers can expect in the future relative. She stated that the best way to do this is to tailor one’s work persona and accomplishments to the roles within their desired job. This involves shaping each application document to that desired job so that employers can quickly see the connection between one’s background and that position, which can be done by emphasizing a past experience that aligns with the applied-for position and eliminating unimportant or irrelevant work. It is of paramount importance that applicants skillfully demonstrate their value to the company.

Evans affirmed that cover letters and resumes have to be legible, innovative with the use of empty space, and relevant to the job in question. A professional email must be used, as well as an abundant use of strong references (if possible). All sections, such as the summary and general profile, education, internship and career experience, involvement or volunteer work, and awards and certifications should be filled out if applicable. The use of strong verbs to demonstrate qualitative and quantitative information tends to give the applicant an edge. Multiple rounds of proofreading, perhaps online or with a trusted contact, should be conducted to ensure a lack of error. Evans also mentioned that OptimalResume is a great website for creating a formidable resume. It utilizes modules or backbone formats that applicants can fill in accordingly. Creating a portfolio may also be useful to highlight any additional abilities or aptitudes not previously listed.

Another easy way to make oneself more attractive to employers is to update any and all information online. Make sure that all your past and current jobs are documented on CareerConnect, LinkedIn or any other networking sites you may use for professional purposes. When looking at alternative career-focused websites, Evans recommends Jobscan, Glassdoor, and Payscale. Use an up-to-date picture that looks sleek and professional…not a selfie! Utilize the summary and headline features to paint the best picture. On CareerConnect, the Job Blast feature lists internship and job opportunities every week, both on and off-campus, which students can utilize if they are having trouble finding any postings.

Evans acknowledges that some students have a tendency to not put the work into job applications until the last minute. However, this process should be built upon and continued over time so that the skill is not lost, so to speak. “Don’t procrastinate! Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your career,” she explains. “Utilize all of the career services and resources available to you through the Career Development Center. Most of all, be prepared to put in the time and effort to reach your goals.”

Email the Career Development Center at [email protected] or call (217) 206-6508 for more information