4 things you must do before applying to jobs

4 things you must do before applying to jobs

Imagine hitting the jackpot while you’re job searching online. After days and nights of going through job postings that don’t interest you, you’ve finally stumbled upon one that you like and is perfectly suited for your skills and experience. Plus, it’s for a company you’ve been longing to join for so long! Nothing should hold you back from applying, right?

Always remember that to succeed during job search, preparation is key. Doing so will help you strategize your moves and help you look better in the eyes of hirers. Think of it like how students prepare for an exam by studying, or how athletes train before entering a competition. The four things below should not be missed by candidates who are currently looking for jobs.


1. Take stock of your skills and accomplishments

Whether you are a fresh grad or an experienced employee, your past experiences and abilities determine where your search would take you to in the job marketplace, so do take the time to carefully think about what you can offer hirers before embarking on a search. Assess your skills and see what you can to do to make you stand out from the competition. Once you’ve accomplished this, you need to properly document these things so you’ll have something to show employers. You may start with resumes to showcase your work, but other formats like portfolios, videos and personal websites may be required for some specialized industries.

Next, figure out what hirers are looking for and check to see if you’ve got what they need. This would help you market yourself better to potential employers, while giving you insights on which industries best match your skills.


2. Learn everything you can about the company you are applying for

Knowing what you have to offer hirers is one thing, but smart candidates know that they have to look out for themselves too, which means knowing what their potential employers can offer to them in return. It pays to think of job hunting as a two-way street — job seekers, like hirers, are also on the look out for their best match as well. While you may have found a vacancy that aligns with your skills and accomplishments, factors such as company culture and management styles need to be taken into consideration first before you press ‘apply’.

You can start out by viewing the company’s website (if they have one) to gain insight of what happens there, and to learn about their products and services. Next, you can look up industry news to find out about the company’s performance in the market. Lastly, you may also get in touch with your network to find out what they know about the company you are interested in – much better if you can find actual former or current employees to give you the inside scoop on these potential employers.


3. Look yourself up online and see what’s out there

Here’s something you should always remember when going on a job hunt: to succeed in the end, you must cover all your bases. Aside from having the right documentation and doing research on the company beforehand, you must also try to find out what hirers can discover online when they do research about you. While reference checks happen after the job interview, HR professionals may conduct a screening before inviting you for interviews and they will base it on what they see online about you. Here’s where you might have to conduct a social media clean-up before applying to any job you like.

Start with updating your contact details online and any resume you have on the internet with the latest info. Next, google yourself and see what comes up about you on search results. Found something that might cause hirers to think twice about hiring you? Here’s a helpful article from Huffington Post about ‘defensive googling’ in case this happens to you. Finally, check your social media profiles and see what you have posted there. You always want to present yourself in a good way so delete or at least hide those posts or photos that may make you appear unprofessional or untrustworthy.

Think of it as another form of branding – anything a candidate does during a hunt is a form of marketing in one form or another anyway and this is just another tactic to help you market yourself better to hirers.


4. Be confident about your chances

None of these steps matter in the long run if you don’t have the confidence to go after the jobs you want. Oftentimes candidates miss out on so many opportunities because of fear. There’s the fear that they’re not right for the job, the fear that they are not up to par with the requirements, or the fear of trying out something for the first time. Yes, job hunting is intimidating, but you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t try. Remember that everyone started out where you are right now, and that the most successful people in the world also had times of doubt, but they still persisted and worked hard to get to where they are.

Confidence is attractive, and when hirers sense that you know what you want and that you’re ready to give them what they need, then they’re more likely to be interested in you. Ditch the negative talk, manage your emotions, and build up on your confidence before embarking on a job search. You’ll be better at managing the challenges that come during this period, and you are sure to come out on top at the end.


Finding a job these days is no joke. Taking the time to prepare may be the best way to face this challenge to make sure you come up on top at the end. Reading this article is a good start, and now the rest is up to you: follow these tips and start implementing it in your search. Good luck. 

 

Further reading: 

4 things candidates look for in a job advertisement

If you think your cover letter is good enough, think twice

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