If all you need is an Application:
-Your application should be extremely neat , carefully written, and easy to read. Do not rush. Bring your own pen, do not use pencil.
-Almost every job has reporting requirements of some kind, the employer will want to know that your work will be legible, and that you have a certain command of the language.
-Tell the truth. Don’t embellish or exaggerate. If you can’t answer the questions honestly, look for a different job.
-Microsoft Word has nice resume templates, it is not necessary to pay someone to prepare it for you.
-Keep it to one page, that’s an absolute. Less is more. If the employer wants more information, let them ask you in the interview.
-If you had several similar jobs many years ago you can lump them together and concentrate on your current experience in your resume.
-Include your education, special training, awards, scholarships, etc.
-If you are mailing your resume, you will need clean looking, business appropriate paper.
The Cover letter:
- Your cover letter should be tailored to the job and to the company: why you are interested in the position, what education, talents, experience, etc., you have that make you the best person for the job, and why you would like to work for that company. Again, keep it to one page.
- The cover letter is critical if you are mailing or emailing your application. It must be well done, but it must also reflect your personality, not some sterile on-line resume and cover letter writing service. If you do use a service, be sure to re-write the letter in your own style using their format.
- Do not rely on spell-check. Make sure the letter and the resume are free of errors.
-Be on time (about two minutes prior to your interview time). Do not arrive thirty minutes early, it is just as impolite as being late.
-It is best to do a practice run unless you know the area intimately. Allow time to park, check in with the receptionist, etc. Don’t rely on luck to get you there on time if you are flying blind. Also scout out somewhere that you can use the restroom if you think you will need to before going in to the interview.
-Offer your hand, shake firmly, but do not try to break the person’s fingers. Say their name, “Ms. Jones, thank you for seeing me.”
-Wait until you are invited to sit before you do so. Put your purse or briefcase on the floor, not on your lap, do not fidget with anything while you are talking.
-Look at the interviewer’s face, sit still, no wiggling, and wait for their questions.
-Don’t interrupt the interviewer. They have already read your resume and your cover letter, so they will know what they want to ask you.
-Do not offer any information that is personal or irrelevant.
-Be direct, honest and sincere, that’s enough, don’t aim for entertainment.
-Do not ask about time off, vacation, benefits or sick time until you have been offered the job. (You should have been able to find this out in your research of the company before you turned in your application.)
-Wear appropriate clothing for the position you are seeking, i.e., if you are applying for a position in a warehouse, do not wear a suit to the interview, wear “working” clothes. Do not wear bluejeans for any interview, ever.
-When the interview is over, offer your hand again, thank the interviewer for his/her time, and leave promptly.
-If you can’t pass the drug test, don’t bother with the Application.
-Make sure that you have allowed yourself enough time for the interview and any related testing: you should be able to stay and take the tests without panicking about time.
My personal best interview experience was the last place I worked. It was a large firm, over one hundred secretaries, I knew there was a lot of competition.
The interviewer looked directly at me and said: “Why should I hire you?”
I looked her straight in the eyes and said, calmly: “I work hard, and I show up every day.” (No joke here, I do show up every day. I am not someone who calls in sick twice a month – which employers appreciate, because it costs them money to cover for you when you are out…)
I had the job. I knew it. And best of all, it was true. I would have to prove myself to them, but I knew that I could do it.
p.s. Love yourself, no matter what. If you don’t get the job, let it go. There are so many things involved in hiring someone, so many requirements that the interviewer must try to meet for the department or person that is doing the hiring, matching personalities, finding the right qualifications, it really is not necessarily about you if you aren’t picked for the job. Just keep going forward and looking for something that will be good for you.