“I’m working full time to work full time”.  If this quote is something you would say yourself, then this post is for you.

Applying for jobs is a job in itself. If one wants a better job, one has to be committed and work extremely hard in finding the right one, competing for it and winning the bid.
What systems do you have to find jobs and apply to them?

First, it’s always a good idea to have a folder with a copy of the announcement or job advertisement along with the contact information for follow up. With the copy, you will want to also either mark down which resume you used, or put a copy of the resume and answers to any application questions you answered.

Why is this important?

So that you are prepared if called for an interview or a further application phase. I can’t tell you how many times I have been contacted by Federal applicants wanting further information because they only kept the vacancy number and not the direct contact information from the vacancy.

Secondly, an applicant will want to thoroughly read the job ad and follow instructions on how to apply. I recommend applicants print it out if it’s online, read through it and then go back to the beginning with a highlighter. Highlight the important information such as the contact, who may apply and the experience needed, deadline for the application, and any documents, writing or work samples required. Reading through it thoroughly is also going to allow you to prioritize and cross off some you see.

Are you looking for a specific location, relocation expenses, tuition assistance, only full time or only day shift? You may find a lot of information in the ad or a web link provided that will help you decide if you should apply. Systematically go through each step and check it off of the job ad as you have completed it.

If you are applying online and need to write long answers to questions, or submit samples, be sure to do it in Word, spell check it and then copy it out of Word into the online process. It’s much easier to edit your work in Word than in an online atmosphere where you could get “timed out” by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Also be aware that online applications may not allow much formatting. If you see that your resume doesn’t appear as you want, it is most likely because the online system doesn’t take the formatting and you might consider using a simple text (.txt) file. For this reason, you should always bring hard copy resumes with you to interviews so that you can leave the nicely formatted one you want them to have in front of them.

A few more tips to follow:

  • Follow the job application instructions exactly. If it says to not send transcripts, call, or to only use a 8 ½ x 11 envelope, make sure to follow those guidelines verbatim.
  • Customize your resume and application to each advertisement so that your experience is easily recognized by a human or a scanner. This is another reason to name your resumes or put a copy with the job ad in your employment folder. Nothing is worse than getting a call for an interview and not knowing what company is calling you and what job it is.
  • When the call comes, ask questions if you aren’t sure or ask them to wait one second while you retrieve your professional employment folder.
  • Be prepared to spend hours on an application to ensure you have done it professionally and completely.
  • Realize that you need to carve out specific time to look for job ads each day because you might see one today that has a closing date tomorrow!

Prepare now by working up your resume(s), some work samples or experiences from previous positions as well as statements of what you did and the savings or results for your employer. Then if you see a job closing tomorrow, you might just be able to meet that deadline.

Good luck with your job hunting and please share any other ideas you have for a successful process.