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Applying for a job is sometimes both scary and exciting at the same time. On the one hand, the new job opportunity excites you, while on the other, you worry about not getting the job. You are opening yourself up to evaluation, and your ability to get the job depends largely on the presentation you make to the prospective employer. That’s why it is so important that you take steps to prepare before you apply, to give yourself the best chance at success. With that in mind, here are six things you should do before you apply for your next job.

 

Make Sure the Job Is Right for You

Before you start getting all your paperwork and references together, it’s important to ask yourself if you really want the job to which you’re applying. Does this job suit the hours you’re after? Will it allow you to work on projects that interest you? How does this job allow you to pursue your passions? Is the compensation enough? These are all important questions to ask yourself before you apply. You don’t want to go through the work of applying, only to discover that you don’t want the job after all. If you are an introvert and loves coding, you may want to search for startups hiring for engineers instead of applying as a sales executive. It’s not about being picky but rather having yourself match on the career path you are going to take.
Learn as much as you can about the job beforehand, and then decide if you want to go forward.

 

Get the Right Skills

During your research, you will likely learn the skills required to do the job. If there are some you are missing, or that you’re a little rusty with, now is the time to work on that. For instance, if you have experience with web design, but haven’t designed a web page in a few years, it’s a good idea to brush up on the latest techniques and even design a quick web page on your own, just to make sure you are fresh. While some jobs will train you in necessary skills, the more you know before the interview, the better your chances are at landing the job.

 

Research the Company

After learning about the specific role you’re applying for, learn about the company overall. What is their mission statement? What kind of customers do they have? Who started the company, and what are they like? By learning about the company culture and work practices, you can tailor your message to fit in. For example, if you’re applying to a start up, you could highlight your own entrepreneurial spirit, rather than your past desk jobs.

 

Polish Your Resume

Next, it’s always important to go over your resume before you send it out. Make sure that it is up to date, and that it highlights all your important qualities. You may want to refine your resume for each job you’re applying to ensure you are emphasizing the right skills and experiences. The company you’re applying to may receive hundreds of resumes, so you need to do everything you can to get yours to stand out. Here are a few resume tips to get you started.

 

Examine Your Portfolio

Along with a resume, many companies would like to see a portfolio of your work when you apply. This is often the case for designers, programmers, artists, marketers, writers, and many others. If you don’t have a portfolio yet, they are easy to make. You can set up your own website, then upload all the relevant documents and pictures for display. After that you just need to provide the web address along with your application – typically on your resume – and wait for the employer to view it. For more information on building a website portfolio, read this guide.

 

Craft A Cover Letter

Finally, with your resume and portfolio, you’ll also want to include a well-written cover letter. A cover letter is the place where you introduce yourself, and pitch yourself to the company. While the resume is the place to list your experience and skill, your cover letter is the place to expand upon these and go into more detail. A great cover letter is the difference between having your resume examined, or having it tossed aside. Here are some cover letter examples if you’d like to see how it’s done. Don’t take the cover letter lightly, as it’s your first opportunity to impress a potential employer.

 

You’re Ready to Apply

If you’ve done all the above steps, you’re ready to apply for a job. You’ve done all you can – from learning about the company to perfecting your resume and cover letter – and now it’s time to submit your application. Hopefully, the above steps pay off, and before long you’ll be sitting down for an interview, or even landing the job.

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