Published on March 10th, 2013 | by Arnout

Successfully apply for a job

Ok true, because of my employment I get training to interview candidates, I know what questions to ask and I also know what you could answer to go through to the next round. But that is not what a successful job application is about. In fact when you want to successfully apply for a job it is not only the future employer interviewing you, but also the other way round. A job application interview goes both ways and it is all about getting a true and factual impression of each other.

So how do you successfully apply for a job

I have only 20 years of career experience starting with my first job at a supermarket when I was 15, but in that time I have applied for several jobs. What I have experienced is that most of the jobs I applied for we’re jobs that I really wanted. And I always got those jobs. Sometimes I applied for jobs that only remotely looked like a good job for me but really didn’t feel like a great fit. I never got those jobs sometimes because I got rejected, but also because I didn’t want to continue the process. The first thing I have learned over time is that if you want it really bad you can get it. If you don’t you won’t.

Your motivation

I have been rejected based on letters and CV submissions but never on an interview. That taught me that if my motivation is real and I get to talk to someone about it, I can get the job I want. Still I have to get to the interview round. That depends on the motivational letter and CV, I use my motivational letter to make sure I come across the way I want, here are some steps to do that the way I do:

  • First of all, know what you want to gain from and invest in your future job, what do you want to do, learn and feel.Only apply for jobs that fit this.
  • Take only limited time (I use 30 minutes) to write down your motivation for the specific job you want to get, only when I can do that I actually apply.
  • Once you have written down your motivation, take a look at the 3 key items in there and formulate your own arguments to support them.
  • Rebuild your motivational letter with the arguments integrated in to your motivation.
  • Reread and make sure that this is the way you feel and think about your motivation. Remember, if you get a job but it is no fit for either you or your employer, one or both of you will be very unhappy very soon.
  • Let it rest for a while, if the job is for you, it will be there in a couple of days. Take another look, if it still feels good, apply!

Your experience

Now that you have done this, you have mostly completed the hard part. Next is the CV. If you apply for a logical next step your experience and education are key, they will support your motivation more than the arguments in your letter. If you apply for something entirely different, make sure that you can relate your experience and education in such a way you can actually apply your knowledge and skills in the new job. An employer could feel good about investing in your education but mostly they will expect you to start immediately. Once again be honest, and make sure you can back-up experience with examples that show your personality and skills.

Something most people forget is your social media fingerprint. Too much has been written about that already so I won’t elaborate. But make sure that your submitted application is still close to your online profiles. A big gap between them will raise questions that you might not be able to answer.

If you are still convinced about your fit with your future employer and the job at hand, apply! Keep your fingers crossed and be patient.

Interview or no interview

For most people the hardest is the next step, rejection or invitation to the following round, the interview. Rejection is tough, we are hard-wired to be in groups and soft-wired to fear rejection. If you have experienced it enough times, you will learn it is not the end of the world or your life. But it will feel bad, so take your time to accept it.

If you go through to the interview you might feel just as bad because of your nerves. If you really want the job, and you do because otherwise you wouldn’t have applied, you will experience some adrenaline rush.

Actually the interview doesn’t have to be very hard. Since you have applied for the job with a very personal and backed up motivation and a well rounded CV that is about you and your fit to the job and the organisation, the facts are already there. And you have applied for something you believe in. Everything is there, so the only thing you have to do from now on is make sure you stay close to your self. Be real and authentic and make sure when you meet your future employer that you are assessing each other. If after the interview you don’t want the job you can still turn it down. A match between the two of you will be felt on both ends of the table. Then the only thing standing between you and the contract could be another candidate.

If you want to get more info on do’s and don’ts, check Wikihow



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About the Author

Working in Business Development at ABN AMRO offers me a wide view of markets. In combination with my broad interests this results in diverse articles. On the blog you will find stuff on tech, on social issues but most about what I like to share out of my life, lots of it is of course related to the life lessons I learned in my practice of Wing Tjun.

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