Are you still looking for a job? Yeah, me too. It’s weird; I didn’t expect it to take this long. It’s only been a month, I know, but all I hear people saying is: “Every company needs (communication/ PR/writing) jobs.” Every single job I’ve applied for, I’ve thought “I’m pretty qualified for this position, and my cover letter is solid. I’ll definitely get an interview.” But I’ve barely even gotten any callbacks or recognition for my application.
The good things are we’re in this boat together and I’ve learn a few things from job hunting. This may sound basic to some (and even stupid to others), but here are the five things I’ve learned about how to apply for a job.
- You have to actually look: For me, it’s easy to say I am doing it while sitting and watching Netflix. If I have the application open on my computer, it takes me two hours or more to complete one application instead of 1 hour or less. Cut down the distractions. Find an environment that works for you. (Mine is in the natural light of my dining room.) Set aside two hours every afternoon and purposefully apply to 3 jobs every day. Can’t commit that time? Set a smaller goal. Try 3 applications a week. Stick to it!
- Use your connections: If you have friends in your field, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Ask about any job openings or future openings in their companies. Take an interest in their work. Ask them to look at your application and give you tips. At the least, you could get a few pointers on what companies are looking for. If you talk to someone in the company, mention it in your cover letter.
- Follow up on applications: I am still hesitant on this one. I don’t want to annoy a hiring manager and risk losing an interview. But I like Alison Green‘s advice in “How to Follow Up On Your Job Application” (U.S. News). She says give your application one week to ten days to be on the manager’s desk. After that time, send a non-aggressive email to “underscore your interest” in the job. Follow the article link for a sample or her name link more advice on her blog, “Ask a Manager.”
- Keep track of your applications: I used to be so lost when thinking about all my applications. I couldn’t remember which positions I even applied for. Now, I have a running Excel sheet where I keep track of all my applications. If you plan to do this, make columns labeled “Company”, “Position”, “Location”,”Application Date”, “Follow Up Date”, and “Interview Date.” Keeping organized is important, and you can track your progress.
- Try not to be discouraged: Look. I get it. You worked hard on your application. You took an hour or so on that perfect cover letter (and the thirty before that).
It’s easy to get depressed over the job search, but as my friend Nichole put it, “(We’re) right on schedule.” This is a process. It takes time and, as long as you are actually putting yourself out there, someone will see your career worth. We can do this!
Did you miss my post on the do’s and do not’s of resumes and cover letters? No problem. Here’s a link to my post “Standing Out in the Pile.”
Need more application advice? Check these out. “12 Things You Should Never Do When Applying For A Job” (Business Insider), “The Best Ways to Apply for Jobs” (The Balance), “How To Make Them Respond When You Apply For A Job Online” (Forbes).