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9 Tips for job applications

Date posted:  5/5/16 10:00:00 AM

Whether you are looking for your first full-time job or want to build on the career you have already begun to establish, applying for new positions can be intimidating.

Follow these 9 tips when applying and interviewing for a new position:

1. Be brief 
Business Insider noted you should showcase yourself as efficiently as possible when applying for a new job.

"Design your personal profile with the mindset that the people reading it are doing so at five minutes to 5 o'clock on a Friday, right before their vacation," said Peter S. Herzog, author of employment and job search literature, according to Business Insider. 

Your cover letter should not be longer than three paragraphs. Identify why you are sending the document, how you heard about the position and something specific in your experience related to the job that the employer would not know by looking at your résumé.

2. Explain your experience 
Do not assume an employer will understand your previous experience or will be familiar with the companies you have worked for. You want to incorporate a brief description of your former and current employers and your responsibilities in each position to appear more credible to the hiring department. 

3. Organize your résumé appropriately 
The only reason you should list your education before your experience on a résumé is if you have completed a degree within the last two years or if you have five higher degrees. 

You want your experience to be the highlight of your résumé so employers immediately know how your previous work will bolster their operation. 

4. Move offline 
According to Forbes, applying for jobs online may actually set you back.

"I tell my clients that they're wasting their time applying online," David Couper, a career coach, told Forbes. "To me you've left it too late," he says. "Once it's online, millions of other people have seen it."

Make yourself more human by reaching out to the company or agency and meeting with someone in human resources prior to applying. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions about the application process and learn a little bit more about what a company is looking for in its employees. 

However, this doesn't mean there isn't some success with sticking to online applications. It's just also a good idea to diversify your application technique. 

5. Take advantage of Google Alerts 
Before heading into an interview, it's critical to research the company. However, you can also make it a little easier on yourself by setting up Google Alerts, noted Forbes contributor Jon Youshaei. 

By using this tool, you can have emails sent to you whenever news about a company is posted online. This is helpful  because it keeps you updated on companies you are applying to, and by staying updated, you can increase your chances of getting hired. 

6. Double check your social profiles 
So much of our lives are shared on social media platforms. Unfortunately, sometimes our best and most professional side does not show. Comb through your Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and ensure there isn't anything that might jeopardize your job applications. 

"Too many recruiters reject candidate[sic] because of something they found on their social platforms" Social Sweepster CEO Tom McGrath noted, according to Forbes. "We help you create the first impression on your own terms."

7. Know the best time to interview 
When you are called in to discuss the position and your ability to fulfill a company or agency's needs, make sure you select a time that will work in your favor. However, certain days and times are better than others. 

Tuesday mid-morning is a good time because employees aren't yet thinking about the weekend, and Mondays may not be the best because people are transitioning from the weekend. You also want to consider lunch. If you interview right before lunch, your interviewer may be distracted by hunger, but if you go in after the noon hour, he or she may be a bit sleepy following a large meal. 

8. Explain any gaps in your résumé 
If you have a gap in your experience, make sure you explain the gap during your interview. Whether you went on sabbatical or decided to start a family, explaining your experiences in detail can help an employer get to know you and your background a little better. 

9. Be prepared with a few questions of your own 
While you know you will need to answer questions about your experience and interest in the position, it is also critical to have well-researched questions prepared for the interviewer. 

Mention a recent press release you read from the company and ask how it will impact growth, or mention your familiarity with a software program you think might be beneficial for the company. Any details that position you in a better light will help greatly.