Starting the job-application process can be daunting. There are so many roles out there, and so many unknowns. It can be hard to know what to do and what to expect. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or this is your first time applying to jobs, here are our top application tips.
1. Apply early
Apply to new job postings first. Competitive roles at major companies can receive hundreds (or even thousands) of applications, and most employers look at applications in the order they were received. Even if you’re the best candidate for a role, it won’t do you any good if the employer already has a great candidate in the final round of interviews. So, aim to be among a job’s first applicants.
2. Be careful
Before you hit “submit,” proofread everything and re-read the application directions. A lot of employers include specific instructions to check that you’re paying attention, so follow them carefully. If a job asks for a certain file format, use it. If they say “no phone calls,” do not pick up that phone.
3. Don’t count on regular communication
In an ideal world, companies would thank you for your time, send regular updates, and let you know when they’ve filled a position. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. While many companies send an automated email confirming that they’ve received your application, others do not. And if you’ve submitted your application via email or regular mail, chances are you won’t hear back unless you land an interview. Occasionally, attentive employers will send you status updates, but don’t expect it.
4. Wait it out
If it’s been two days and you’ve heard nothing—take a breath and wait some more. At this point, patience is a virtue. While most employers make decisions early on, some can take weeks, or even months. If there’s a role you’re extra excited about, feel free to politely follow up with the hiring manager after two weeks.
5. Keep looking
The best way to distract yourself from obsessing over why you haven’t heard back on that dream job? Keep applying. Just because you’ve applied to one, two, or 20 jobs doesn’t mean the work is over. As we mentioned, major companies can receive hundreds of applications for a single opening—so the more applications you submit, the better the odds of landing an actual offer.