How to: Apply for a Job

overconfidenceThe public relations firm where I am an intern is currently hiring, and it’s my responsibility to manage the flood of job applications we’re receiving. This experience has already served as an incredible lens for me to learn some important do’s and don’ts when applying for a job.

1. Don’t be overconfident.

Applicants were asked to send in a cover letter and resume by email. One applicant sent in her application sans cover letter, claiming that she felt cover letters were ”the worst”.

Her application was entertaining and creative; however, her assumption that her opinion of cover letters was more important than the hiring managers’ did not go over well.

Another applicant sent her materials in with an email subject: “Your Next Junior Account Executive.” Yikes! This cocky subject line is an immediate red flag to a potential employer.

Standing out is important, but don’t over do it. Be confident in your abilities, but remain professional.

2. Do tailor your application for the position.

We have been taught well in the SOJC! Keep your materials concise and to the point, directly targeting the position you’re applying for. Expect to be politely rejected or even ignored if you do the following:

  • Submit a two page single-spaced cover letter
  • Lead your resume with irrelevant experience (such as janitorial work)
  • Reference an incorrect position title
  • Attach your materials as word documents (which can be edited) rather than PDFs

The most effective length for resumes seems to be one or one and a half pages long; cover letters should be three short paragraphs—no longer than three-fourths of a page.

Split your resume into relevant experience to the position and other professional experience. Use your cover letter to briefly describe your relevant qualifications for the position with specific details.

These tips come from a few of my observations of the hiring process thus far, and I am sure I will continue to learn more. Look forward to more job application tips from me in the future!


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4 Responses to How to: Apply for a Job

  1. Jasmine N. Rockow says:

    Thanks for the advise Cecilia! It sounds like this internship will definitely give you an edge wherever you go. Looking forward to more insights as the term progresses.

  2. Adaira Floyd says:

    Love the advice! Sometimes it’s obvious when someone is being overly-confident… sometimes I see people pull it off as long as they remain respectful. Entry-level job seekers should be stoked just to get the interview! 🙂

  3. Great advice, Cecilia! Applying for any job can be stressful and overwhleming but these tips are very helpful, espcially coming from someone with an insider view. I agree that it’s extremely important to tailor your resume based on the specific job you are trying to be hired for.

  4. Thanks for the great advice Cecilia! It’s always nice to get a refresher on jumping into the job market. I have heard that over-confidence works for a few people, since the company finds something fascinating with the person’s spunk, but that might just be a myth. I know it would be a terrible idea, no doubt. I have always been taught to be humble and thankful, so I’ll bring that with me wherever, hopefully that doesn’t get me into trouble like with people at the opposite end of the spectrum. I look forward to more useful tips from your very useful internship!

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