Working with applications and resumes
When you're looking for a job, you will either be asked to fill out an application, submit a resume, or do both. Job applications usually ask for previous experience, education, and references. Your resume contains a lot of the same information, but it's presented in a different way. Be prepared with the information you need.
Completing a job application
If you're asked to fill out a job application, it helps to come prepared. If you have all of your important information on a single sheet of paper, the process will go a lot more quickly. The primary information you'll need includes your employment history, your education, and the names and phone numbers of three people who will serve as references. The Job Application Worksheet helps you gather this information in one place. Employers often call an applicant's references to verify a person's experience and qualifications, as well as to get an idea of what kind of a person you are.
Never lie on an application. If your lie is discovered, it could keep you from being hired or it could cause you to be fired later on. If you're reluctant to answer some questions, you may want to write "wish to discuss" on that part of the application.
You may need to include references-ideally, past supervisors who can speak highly of your skills and work ethic. Former co-workers also can vouch for your abilities and even prior customers can offer helpful references. Often times, it is appropriate for recent graduates to include professors, friends, church officials or supervisors at organizations you have volunteered at as references. If at all possible, avoid naming family members as references, since potential employers may view that negatively.
Writing your resume and cover letter
It is very important to create an effective resume. When you submit a resume to a potential employer, you need to include a personalized cover letter with it. The cover letter is very important, as it allows you to express your interest in a job and why you're the best candidate.
Your cover letter is your chance to gain the attention of the employer and it should reflect your personality to some extent. Be careful about writing a humorous cover letter unless you're applying for a stand-up comic position, but don't be afraid to let your individuality come through a bit.
Instead of just reusing the information listed on your resume, try to expand on a few points in your cover letter. If you're applying for a job that may seem different from the ones you've had, explain how your skills apply to it. Maybe you are good at solving problems, providing great customer service, or staying calm in a crisis. These are skills that any employer values.
Take your time when writing cover letters. Customize each one for specific jobs. When possible, address your cover letter to the hiring manager. Use a generic greeting ("Dear Sir or Madam") only as a last resort. Also, try to put yourself in the position of the person who will be reading your letter and resume. If there are things on your resume that just don't add up, take the time to explain them in your cover letter.