It can be very exciting to apply for your first job and land an interview, but it’s important to remember that getting the job is only half the battle. During the hiring process, you’ll have to face a lot of questions and decisions that could really affect your future career, so you need to take your time and be prepared in order to get the job offer you want. Here are 10 things to consider when applying for a job, whether it’s your first or fifth position after graduation.
1) Know What Your Goal Is
Your application should be tailored specifically to one position, not sent out blindly across as many openings as you can find. You may not know what your goal is in an application or interview until you’ve spoken with someone about that position, so make sure that you’re clearly communicating what you’re looking for from each stage of your job search—and have an exit strategy if it doesn’t work out. (For example, are you interviewing because it has great benefits?
2) Prepare Yourself Emotionally
The most important thing you can do is be mentally prepared for your job search. Be prepared to experience multiple rejections and keep in mind that you may need several jobs before you find one. Always remain positive and remember that every no brings you closer to your yes!
3) Know Why This Job Is Important to You
This is key—it’s good to have an understanding of what you’re getting yourself into before you apply for that dream job. Is it in your price range? Are you willing to relocate if necessary? How much time will you need off at first and after children are born or adopted? It’s never too early (or late) to ask these questions. You don’t want to waste your precious downtime on a job that isn’t exactly what you thought it would be.
4) Have an Outline of What You Want to Say in Hand
A good outline is an important planning tool. It helps you keep track of your ideas, organize them logically, and see where you need more or less content. It also provides a useful reference as you write (and edit). An outline can help you see gaps in your knowledge that might otherwise remain hidden until you start writing—and it’s way easier to fill those gaps before beginning work than after.
5) Research Your Employer
You may be thrilled that you have your foot in the door with a company you’re interested in working for, but don’t start looking at potential employment ads just yet. Start off by doing some research on your potential employer and their current job openings. This can help give you an idea of what skills are most desired by them, as well as how competitive each position will be.
6) Bring A List of Questions
Bring a list of questions with you. It will show your interviewers that you’re really interested in the job, and it’ll give you control over what is discussed in your interview. The main things to bring up in your questions are: Why they are hiring now? What is happening to their current employees? How would they describe their culture? What characteristics do they find most important in an employee?
7) Check Out the Environment Beforehand
If you’re going in for an interview, find out what it’s like to work there. Research online reviews, check Glassdoor, and talk with people who already work there. A working environment that doesn’t fit your personality can be tough (and sometimes toxic) to deal with every day. It makes sense: who wants to spend all day at a place they don’t enjoy?
8) Be Confident and Positive
The first impression an employer will have of you is nonverbal, so exude confidence and positivity from head to toe. A firm handshake, strong eye contact, a smile—all of these things give employers a sense that you’re personable and capable.
9) Be Cautious About Personal Details on Applications
If you’re not asked, don’t include information like your age, gender, marital status or number of children. This can be interpreted in different ways and could actually harm your chances of being hired. It might even sway an employer to pay you less than someone they feel is more deserving of their wages.
10) Accept Rejection
Rejection is part of growing your career, so it’s better to get used to it. Being able to cope with being turned down for a job or internship will make you less stressed during interviews and show that you’re mature enough not take everything personally. Try learning from each rejection and look at how you can improve your interview technique! Before your next interview, read our guide on How to Ace an Interview .