What to Do Before You Apply for the Job

By Danielle Wirsansky on August 9, 2017

You are on the hunt for a new job, combing job postings in newspapers and online, searching through forums and threads, trying to find one that will work for you, when, voila! You have found it! You have found a job that fits what you are looking for. It has the pay, it has the hours, it is in your field, you are doing something that you want to be doing. You have found the job, but now how do you get it?

It takes more than simply applying to a job to get it. You have finally found a job that you actually really want, so you want to do your best to land it. So what steps can you take to prepare yourself and make the best effort possible to get the job? Read on to learn what you can do before you apply for the job to help increase your chances of getting it!

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Research the company

The first thing you need to do is check out the company and learn literally everything that you can about it. How long has it existed? Who founded it? Where exactly is it located? You want to know everything about them so that you can first, make sure that everything about this job is as it appears and that you still want it, and two, that you can prove to them that you are the best fit for the company.

If something appears sketchy about the company or you realize that the job and company are not exactly what you wanted, you can put the job off to the side. But if researching them only convinces you of what a great place it would be to work at, then you need to prove to them that you belong there. How can you show you are the best fit for the company if you do not know anything about the company?

First, be sure to get familiar with their mission statement so you truly understand the goals of the organization. Check out their recent projects to get a better sense of where the company has been and where they are going. Also be sure to look over their staff and get to know about each of them because you never know who you might be talking to or meeting during your application process and you want to be prepared.

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Have a strong cover letter

Many people tend to skip over submitting a cover letter when applying for a job if it is not specifically requested. This is a definite no-no! Unless you are submitting an online application that you cannot add attachments to, you should definitely include a cover letter. You do not want to send a company an email with an empty email and only your resume attached. That comes off as incredibly unprofessional and almost rude. There is a person on the other end of the email and they probably have a say in whether you get hired or not.

You should take absolutely every opportunity to sell yourself to this person, even if you do not know the specific person you are contacting, and to this company. Do not miss out! A strong cover letter will set you apart from other applicants. All the research you did into the company comes in handy here. You have done the research and know that you would be a great fit for this company.

However, the company does not know that you have researched them and what a great fit you would be. The cover letter is the perfect opportunity to show that you have researched the company, you are committed and dedicated, you do your work, and that you would indeed be a great fit for them. Somebody that is familiar with the company and is excited about their work is much more likely to be moved to the next level of hiring than someone that does not display those same traits.

Use key words

Your research will really come in handy too when you are writing your cover letter and tweaking your resume because you will be able to use key words to draw potential employers in. Reflect and reuse language that the company uses in their job description and their mission statement in order to show that you align with what the company stands for and needs.

Say you cannot submit a cover letter, only a resume with your application. Tweak the descriptions of the tasks you have done at each job to reflect the kind of language this company used in their job posting to show you have experience doing just what they are looking for.

If you can also include a cover letter, use key words to show how you reflect and embody the values that the company holds dear and show that you have incredibly relevant job experience that makes you a great fit for the job.

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre and a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History. She is a second year graduate student in FSU's History department where she serves as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), whatscheaper.com (associate editor), escapewizard.com (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor).

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